A new team has joined our SYACL

A new team has joined our league and their coach Alex Whitehead, Head Coach, Hillsborough Hornets DTFC tells us all about them, but if you want to read more then visit their excellent website. www.hillsboroughhornets.co.uk.

  Tell us a little about the background to your club and players – how long have the teams been together, and where were they playing before? How many teams will you be entering?

We are the Hillsborough Hornets Disability Football Club; the club will have been running for 1 year in October. We have 48 kids who attend sessions on a Saturday morning, which is a big achievement for us. To say that in October 2020, we started with 5 kids, then Covid etc. We have kids with conditions ranging from Autism to Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.

We welcome boys and girls to play for our team. Some of them used to play for Sheffield FC, but most of them have never played in this type of environment. We will be entering 1 team in the under 12’s League and 2 teams in the under 16’s League.

If you want to join us or need any more information, you can find it on our website: https://hillsboroughhornets.co.uk/

What are you looking forward to most about participating in the SYACL?

Having a league that cares about the kids and the teams involved; and hopefully helping the kids enjoy more than just training and giving them the that feeling of winning a League fixture!

Tell us what the spectators can look forward to from your teams. Are there any particular players we should be looking out for?

A togetherness, fun, and all involved, despite ability performance is what you’ll see from our guys. They play to win, but do it the right way by enjoying themselves first! All our players are people you should be looking out for, we don’t make it about one player or two we make it all about it being accessible and all about inclusion.

How has pre-season training gone so far? Have you been involved in any competitions over the summer weeks?

Pre-season is going great, the togetherness is really there to see, and we’ve been having some really fun session, loads of smiles and laughter.

We had a summer tournament in Killinghall, Harrogate where we finished runners up!

South Yorkshire Ability Counts League Annual General Meeting

 Held on Tuesday 7th September 2021 Via Zoom Video Call at 8pm

  •            Roll Call @ 8:15pm – Chairman, Secretary, Covid Officer, Referee representative, Club representatives from Aston Swallownest, BartonInclusive, Bradford City DFC, Brunsmeer Awareness,  City Knights, Club Doncaster Titans, Derek Dooley FC, Doncaster Deaf Trust,Sheffield FC, Social Eyes, Spartans FC & Wheatley Wanderers SYACL FC

Absent –

  •            New Disability Officer Chair introduced the new disability officer for Sheffield & Hallamshire FA, who told us of her plans for the role in the up-and-coming years. The FA are really pushing female football at the moment and that is where she will be pushing for higher numbers and possibly a female only disability league. There was also mention of maybe playing a cross county competition, as was tried before the pandemic. Overtures had also been made with professional football clubs across the county, asking them what they are doing to promote disability football and what their pathways are? The FA are pushing specific disability teams such as CP, visually impaired and blind football.
  •            League Dates & Venues Chair checked that all representatives knew the dates for the upcoming season which have been sent out via texts and emails; everyone said they had received them. 7-a-side will be 2pm to 5pm at Concord Centre Sheffield & 5-a-side at Doncaster and Sheffield Goals 2pm to 5pm. He then discussed the County Cups Adult (for the 7-a-side teams) and Junior (for the 5-a-side teams). County Cup matches cost £30 entry fee, but clubs will likely have to pay costs towards matches, unlike previous seasons. These games will be played on the same day as the League games. We then discussed the format of the 5-a-side Leagues; there will be 4 Leagues of 5 teams. It was voted that League 2 teams will play a round robin of 4 x 10-minute games on the day, the other Leagues will be 2 x 20min games, plus any additional Cup games.
  •            Referees Costs The costs of referees have risen for the first time in years; to cover these costs it will be £27 per team per match day for 7-a-side & £22 per team per match day for 5-a-side
  •            Wearing of bibs Chair asked teams to let him know their team colours, so if there is any colour clash one team will be asked to wear bibs, secretary suggested all teams bring a set of bibs of alternative colours on the day.
  •            Squad Lists Chair asked for all Clubs to send him their squad list, so he can check that all the players are on the Whole Game System and that players are not in various teams and that female players are not in the 7-a-side. Also, that all players have the correct proof of disability, usually PIP or DLA letter (doctors letters) The Whole Game System was discussed [the new registration system set up by the FA], there has been major issues with it since it was updated; but Chair said to keep trying to enter players, but any major problems let him/FA know.
  •            Junior Section This season the SYACL will be running a junior league with an under 16’s & Under 12’s League. Chair has booked the venues and will arrange the fixtures, Bradford City DFC, Club Doncaster Titans, Hillsborough Hornets and Sheffield FC will be providing the teams this season but hopefully new clubs will enter in future seasons.   These fixtures will be the first Sunday of every month.
  •            Media Department & Social Platforms The League’s Media & Social Platforms department try to give the League and its clubs maximum exposure to a wide audience.  Anyone visiting these sites can gain an insight to the clubs within the League and hopefully encourage more participants. Chair stressed we need to keep sending articles for the social media site, to keep interest for the league. It always seems to be the same clubs that send the articles; can a few of the teams that don’t send, please try send something to put on the website. A good news story or how your players enjoy disability football. Once the Leagues are up and running, can ALL teams send match reports (they don’t have to be kick by kick reports) just how you did, maybe someone played well or achieved something that they usually don’t? No worries about literacy as they can work wonders with a few sentences and a photo or two. It’s all about promoting the openness of the League and their players and clubs to the general public.
  •            FA representative then told us that the FA are bringing in a 3-star award for any mainstream clubs that have adult, junior, boys, girls and now disability teams. The idea being that new clubs might be formed to play in our Leagues or some clubs might try to adopt’ teams that already exist. She also told us about a mental health course she is trying to run for disability clubs to raise awareness within the clubs; everyone said they would be interested in the course. The Flourish League was discussed alongside this topic.
  • Fair Play Rule Covid officer reminded Clubs about the fair play rule which is; –                                                       In order to best reflect the importance of competition and in order to reduce the possibility of excessively one-sided and demoralising fixtures, the following rules will apply without exception and will be enforced by our match referees.

If a team establishes a three goal advantage at any stage in the match (i.e 3-0, 4-1, 5-2) , the match referee will invite the losing side to bring on additional players until the lead is reduced to a single goal. In 7-a-side fixtures, the losing side may bring on up to three more players, and in 5-a-side fixtures the losing side may bring on up to two additional players.

If the losing side has no additional players to bring on, the team with the three goal advantage will be restricted to two touches only per player in 7-a-side football and to three touches in 5-a-side football.

The match referees will use their discretion in enforcing the limit on the number of touches. This message needs to be sent to all coaches of all teams in the leagues, so there is no confusion on the day.

  • Barton Inclusive FC thanked everyone who have accepted them into the league and have arranged friendlies such as the Spartans Tournament, Bradford City DFC, Sheffield FC & Club Doncaster Titans. They are really looking forward to the new season as are all of us!

Close of meeting – 9:35pm

Next meeting to be arranged once the League is underway.

Let’s make season 2021/2022 a great season, in Darren’s memory.

One minute silence and applause for Secretary Darren Warner, who passed away during Covid. RIP Darren.

SYACL features in Wednesday program with a tribute to Darren

We would like to thank SWFC and Wednesdayite for featuring our League in their matchday program and allowing us to republish the article.

Mike paying tribute to Darren

Wednesdayite Column- Doncaster Rovers FC

Everyone associated with Wednesday extends a warmer-than-usual welcome back to Hillsborough for this afternoon’s League One local encounter with Doncaster Rovers. We also extend our deepest sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones over the last 18 months.

For the season ahead, the Wednesdayite matchday column plans to cover the buzzing Non-League, Ladies, Junior and Disability competitions – and the many fantastic volunteers – in and around our city, which is the true Home of Football.

It’s appropriate, then that today’s piece spotlights the South Yorkshire Ability Counts League, which features three Divisions of open-age 7-a-side footballers living with a range of disabilities, and three further Divisions of 5-a-side players living with mental ill-health or learning difficulties, including Autism.

The feature is particularly poignant today as Darren Warner, the SYACL Secretary and its key driver – alongside Darren’s friend and Chair Mike Stylianou – was also the founder of Club Doncaster Titans, which he set up so that his son, who has autism, and other boys and girls like him had a place to play football. Over time, the popularity of the Titans rocketed, further enhancing the chances for children and adults with disabilities or mental ill-health to play the game that we all love.

In 2019, Darren won the “Unsung Hero” award for the BBC Yorkshire region and was invited to the Sports Personality of the Year Award in Aberdeen, where he just missed the National Award.

Sadly, Darren died in January of this year, aged just forty-nine, after a period of prolonged ill -health; despite this, he remained a regular at SYACL matchdays as recently as the previous December. He leaves behind loving wife Sharon and sons Jordan and Cameron, and over three hundred footballers across six leagues and thirty-one teams who owe him a great debt and regard him as a True Titan of the game.

Rovers paid tribute to Darren ahead of their home game with Rochdale, and hundreds of families and friends paid their own socially-distanced tribute when the funeral cortege paused briefly outside the Keepmoat Stadium on its way to the Crematorium.

Darren’s was recently recognised posthumously as a Grassroots Football Coach of The Year by the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA.

In the meantime, the SYACL continues to grow under Mike’s leadership, and plans to add a junior division for the season ahead, offering even more playing opportunities.

The South Yorkshire Ability Counts League restarts in September. Seven-a-side and 5-a-side fixtures played alternately once per month, with participating teams from South and West Yorkshire, and from this season, North Lincolnshire.

You can read more about Darren, Mike, and the League at their excellent website www.southyorkshireabilitycountsleague.com or their Instagram or Twitter Accounts.

Enjoy the game.

Paul Holmes

Chair, Wednesdayite    

Social eyes Rotherham training begins

Up at Social eyes Rotherham the football training is underway; they have moved to a new training facility @ Kickabout Football Centre, Unit 1-2 Vantage Drive, Tinsley, Sheffield. S9 1BG.

If you visit their website http://www.socialeyesrotherham.co.uk and visit their daily blog page, you will see the great time they had yesterday during training. Now they are back, after the pandemic, it looks like they have their eyes firmly fixed on the top of the SYACL again.

All the other teams training shots will follow. Come back soon.