Football coach takes on new national challenge

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A Bedfordshire-based football coach has been appointed team manager for the England Men’s Deaf Team.

Mike Nolan’s new role with the England squad is the latest stage of a journey that started with completing the FA Level 1 coaching course at Beds FA.

Coaching two grassroots teams soon progressed with various courses and coaching experiences.

Mike’s first taste of disability coaching was shadowing the former Beds FA disability officer, Les Dedman.This led to involvement with Barnet Men’s Deaf Team and experience in the England Talent Pathway.

Learning British Sign Language further helped Mike to communicate and connect with players in the East Region’s talent centre for deaf and partially sighted players.

Mike, who is a member of the recently formed Inclusion Advisory Group in Bedfordshire, said: “It is a great honour to be involved with a national squad and also a personal challenge in organising training camps, fixtures, staff and logistics at this level.

“I would recommend all coaches to try some form of disability coaching. Even if you feel it may not be for you, it will still help develop you further as a coach. You may even find that it is a good fit for you.

“The England Deaf Men, some of whom play in the Futsal Super League with mainstream teams, are currently preparing for the European Deaf Futsal Championships in 2017 and work to the same high standards of the other national squads.”

Mike will continue in his roles locally, including that of FA coach mentor in Beds.