Jermain Defoe got to grips with a slightly different form of the beautiful game when he attended a Special Olympics GB Unified Football coaching session in Enfield.
Unified Football is a groundbreaking football programme designed to break down the social barriers between people with learning disabilities and those without, both on and off the pitch, by bringing them together in the same teams and competitions
The Tottenham Hotspur Foundation put on the session at the Radiomarathon Centre that saw young people with learning disabilities play in small-sided games alongside mainstream volunteers, as part of Special Olympics European Football Week.
JD took part in a warm-up drill before joining participants for a kickaround. He said: “Unified Football is a great idea and something that a lot of people don’t know about. But our Foundation is clearly working hard with Special Olympics to get more people involved and give people with learning disabilities more chances to play football.”
Special Olympics Great Britain is the country’s largest year-round provider of sports training and competition for people with learning disabilities
Over the past year, the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and National Grid have been working closely with Special Olympics Great Britain to support the development of new Unified Football teams across North and South London, working with approximately 125 athletes and partners.
National Grid - Special Olympics Great Britain’s Premier Partner - is supporting the long-term sustainability of the project by providing a £10k grant, as well as range of highly skilled volunteers who work in various parts of the company.
Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s Disability Inclusion Manager, James Isaac, said: “The partnership demonstrates how organisations can combine resources, expertise and commitment to work towards one common goal, which is equality within sport.”
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is a Global Football Ambassador for Special Olympics International, supporting and promoting the work of the Foundation, developing awareness campaigns that promote learning disability sport on a global level and working with Special Olympics International to raise funds that support Special Olympics athletes through specific Tottenham Hotspur Foundation projects.