Disability: Its not that you cant, but how!


Jess and Xenna











Sometimes when you see Jess, you will see a wheelchair, you will see walking sticks and you will see an adorable Assistance dog called Xenna but as a league, we can tell you first hand that there is a whole lot more to Jess and this is a story that will inspire you to take the bull by the horns and realise that “it’s not that you can’t but how you ill achieve things”

Jess is a dedicated volunteer with the Sussex Disability Football League and has taken on the roles of Assistant Secretary and Fixtures Secretary, among many other roles. A year ago Jess emailed the league with a simple worded email that changed the way Jess viewed life, the email stated “I am looking for volunteer work”

In Jess own words “I have always had a passion for football going back to my school days where I was captain of the school team. During school holidays I would often go to events run by Wimbledon and more often than not I would be the only girl there. After leaving school I helped set up and develop a new side from scratch, I then went on to Play, Manage and Coach this team too.  I never had the opportunity to gain my coaching qualifications but my passion for football and my playing experience saw me through.

Jess in action with her old squad

“I thoroughly enjoyed my playing days however I now have very limited movement and can quite often be in pain with varies on a day to day basis. Unfortunately my body no longer lets me play the game I love so much but my passion for the game is still there. I am an avid Wimbledon fan so go regularly there and I love being involved with the Sussex Disability Football League. I got to the point where I wasn’t going to let my disability stop me doing what I really loved which is what led me to press send on the email, little did I know how much I would be able to get involved”

“Since joining the league I now use my disability to a positive effect and working in the league there is no judgment, I’m not feeling like the person with the wheelchair or the person with the sticks , I am just Jess”

“Its not cant, but how”

“The league helps those who can’t necessarily play mainstream football to have the opportunity to play at a level where they feel comfortable, this league has also helped me volunteer at a level where I to feel comfortable. I have learnt so much in such a small space of time and I can now do things I never thought I could, its built my confidence and pushed me to limits I didn’t think I was capable off”

I am now looking to attend a level 1 FA Coaching Course so I can finally gain my qualification and get out there and start coaching so I can give others out there an opportunity to learn in a comfortable environment.  I feel I have a future again and if you told me a year ago I would be looking ahead to coaching courses and then coaching people I would have laughed”

“Thanks to this league I can be involved with football despite my disability and as I always say,  It’s never that you can’t for me, it’s always how”

If you would like to personally speak to Jess about her own experience and would like to find out more about getting into football then you can contact Jess on the following email : assistantsecretary@sussexdisabilityfootball.org.uk

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