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A dedicated Football Coaching Programme for Players with Special Needs – “enriching their lives through Football”

For over 10 years now the Hong Kong Football Club has played host to football coaching sessions for players with special needs. The sessions, founded by HKFC club member Kevin Browne, primarily to satisfy the footballing demands of his son Sean, have developed and expanded over the years and have now been formalised under the HKFC Junior Soccer programme and become known as the HKFC Crusaders.

Coaching sessions currently take place throughout the year between 6pm and 7pm on a Monday night on the main HKFC pitch and involve around 50+ players with special needs and conditions, between the ages of 7 and 40 years’ old, male and female, spanning a variety of ability levels. The players receive coaching from Level 1 and Level 2 qualified coaches from the Junior Soccer programme, as well as other willing volunteers.

The benefits to the players are significant: the training enhances their motor skills and fitness, as well as greatly enhances their self-esteem and social skills. Each session is structured to provide a short warm-up using a football as much as possible, a skills development session and, for some of the players, a highly competitive coached match. As well as motor and football skills development the sessions are focused on providing a safe and fun environment for players with special needs to enjoy the game of soccer.

A squad of selected players play as HKFC Crusaders in friendly competitive against other local special needs clubs, with regular fixtures against the Down Syndrome Association of Hong Kong (DSA Dragons) including an annual match at the yearly Operation Santa Claus football event. In the past the HKFC Crusaders hav

e also competed against a touring side from UK, the Fulham Badgers, and continue to seek out other ways in which the football experience can be developed and enriched.

If you are interested in getting involved with the HKFC Crusaders, either as a volunteer, a coach or, a participating player, please email the HKFC Crusaders Head Coach: Nigel R. Merritt