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Last Updated: Sunday March 19 2006 10:20 GMT

I play in a deaf football team

Press Packer James
Press Packer James is a player in a deaf football team.

In his report he tells us why he thinks it's important to show hearing players that being deaf doesn't stop you from playing great football.

"I've been playing football for years - I love playing footy!

A deaf coaching centre has been opened in my city, which is brilliant - I'm really excited about it.

We learn loads at the coaching centre, from passing the ball and teamwork to how we keep our heads up when dribbling.

Training without words

When we're being trained we're split into two groups and we work with the deaf coaches.

We warm-up using coloured cones which tell us when to stop, go and change direction.

When the coach puts a coloured cone in the air I know what to do - each different coloured cone means a different thing.

Playing deaf football

The rules of deaf football are the same as normal football, but not being able to hear makes a difference to how you play the game.

I can't hear my team if they want me to pass to them, so I have to use my eyes more.

And sometimes I don't know if players are behind me, just about to tackle.

Listening for the referee's whistle is also hard. To get our attention he puts his hand in the air and we stop.

To communicate with each other we use sign language and interpreters.

Overcoming challenges

Like any other player I work hard at improving my skills.

Also, being a deaf footballer, I think it's important to show hearing players that I'm just as good as they are.

I'm really looking forward to playing against other teams in competitions and tournaments.

I really want to become a professional footballer. To anyone who might be sceptical about deaf football - I can prove you wrong if you watch me play! Give me a ball anytime!"

James, 15, Birmingham

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