By Community Reporter Helen Prince
With the Rio Paralympics in full swing – a Knowle West football coach has been awarded Somerset FA Disability Coach of the Year.
Daniel Kingdon (31), who has lived in Filwood all his life, has also been chosen to be the new Chairman of the Somerset FA Ability Counts League.
When Daniel started coaching disabled adults in 2012 there were only up to five players at The Park Knowle FC – now with his involvement there are over 40.
And the club’s disability teams have also done well this year – with leagues 1 and 4 coming top, league 3 runner up and league 2 finishing third, only one point behind the runners up.
Daniel says: “The reason I enjoy coaching disability football is the energy and enthusiasm that every player shows when training. They listen to what instructions you give them … and try their very best, no matter how hard it is to execute… so when they won their leagues it was nice to see all the hard work pay off.
And he thinks the increase in participation is down to word of mouth from team members – who have appreciated the sessions.
He says: “All the players get the chance to keep fit whilst playing the game they love and emulate their idols and most of all enjoy themselves.”
Daniel started coaching local adult and youth teams before working in disability football. He completed a disability awareness course for training in sport, allowing him to be conscious of players’ individual needs.
He explains: “There are some challenges along the way – like understanding a player’s needs and also a player understanding what I am trying to teach them. But most of the time it just takes a lot of patience – not just from me but the players as well.”
As Chairman, Daniel keeps the Somerset FA Ability Counts League running, as well as arranging fixtures and tournaments. He also hopes to expand the club further.
He says: “I would also like to add a women’s disability league and youth would be great as everyone has the right to play, no matter what ability.”
The Park Knowle FC Disability Team meets on a Friday evening from 5 – 6pm and plays in monthly tournaments. There is also an extra session on Saturday mornings from 10:30am – 12 noon.
To join the team or to sponsor the club, contact Daniel on 0752 115 2652 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org.