Roanna Simmons, Head of Disability Football at Fulham FC, has received the Coach of Project award for becoming the first deaf woman in the UK to achieve the FA Level 3 Coaching course. The award was presented to her by Alan Knight MBE at the Deaf Friendly Football Club (DFFC) conference which was held at Anfield, home of Liverpool FC, on 16 November 2009.

The conference celebrated the success of deaf football in England and recognised the achievements of clubs and individuals who had made exceptional contributions to the DFFC project. Set up in 2007 by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) to make football more accessible for deaf children, the groundbreaking project has reached nearly 1,000 deaf young players and trained up over 400 coaches on how to communicate with them.

Roanna, who is a student of Sports Coaching and Development at the University of Brighton, and who was also involved in the recent Deaflympics in Taiwan, commented on the DFFC project:

‘The project has been an eye opener for me in many ways. It humbles me to see that football clubs have pledged to raise the profile of deaf children playing football. When I was a deaf child, I had nothing like this given to me and this is truly a fantastic project for any deaf child to be involved in. I am very grateful to NDCS for inspiring me to coach deaf children and to achieve the FA Level 3 Coaching qualification’

Hayley Jarvis, NDCS Sports and Leisure Activities Manager, says:

‘Individuals like Roanna are great role models for deaf young footballers who often find it difficult to participate in football because clubs are not set up to provide good communication. We are grateful to Roanna for helping NDCS pave the way for better access to football for deaf children.’

‘Before the project began in 2007, there was a severe lack of opportunities for deaf children to take part in football, as most clubs were not set up to provide good communication. Over the last three years, the project has grown significantly, filling the gap in the provision of football activities for deaf children.’

The DFFC has revolutionised the game at all levels for deaf children and has so far attracted 56 football clubs in England, including clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Fulham. The project is funded by the Football Foundation and The Football Association, and actively recruits and trains deaf adults to become qualified football coaches.

For more information on how your club can get involved please contact NDCS Football Development Officer by email at or phone: 0121 234 9820 (v/t). You can also find more details at

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