Physios and physio students represent England at World Deaf Football Championships

CSP members are out in force at the Deaf Football World Cup taking place in Malaysia.

England deaf women's world cup team
The England Deaf Women's football team at the Deaf World Cup 2023. Photo: Jeff Bennett/Gresley Rovers FC

The England Deaf Women team has its first match on Saturday against Turkey. They also have Poland, Japan and USA in their group with matches at various stadiums in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. 

The squad includes physio Keira How, playing as winger or forward and physio students Clodagh Farrell as striker and Jennifer Evans, defender.

Keira is a senior physio at Pinehill Hospital in Hitchin. Clodagh is second year student at the University of Gloucester while Jennifer has just started a physiotherapy degree at Robert Gordon University.

The team’s physio for the tournament, Rebecca East-O’Keeffe, is a former GB football player. She works as a highly specialist MSK physiotherapist and first contact practitioner at Homerton University Hospital. 

England deaf women's world cup player physio Keira How
Physio Keira How who plays winger or forward. Photo: Jeff Bennett/Gresley Rovers FC

'This is very exciting, there has been a lot of activity on social media and it will be England/GB women’s first international tournament since 2017,’ said Keira.

'We hope to do everyone proud and bring home a medal and hopefully inspire other deaf girls and women like myself.'

Read about Keira's journey in her Frontline column

Originally, the team were part of a Football Association para team pathway.

‘Sadly,’ said Keira, the FA withdrew its funding for deaf women’s 11-a-side football earlier this year.

‘They chose to fund deaf women's futsal [an indoor football-based game that is played on a hardcourt] instead, leaving lots of 11-a-side players very disappointed.’

The FA continue to fund the deaf men's 11-a-side team, explained Keira.


The England Deaf Women team is now self-funded, being supported by GB Deaf Football, public donations and a ‘huge’ sponsorship from Frank Hester OBE, owner of TPP and the creator of SystmOne, an IT platform used in the NHS.

The tournament runs until 8 October. Instagram, twitter and Facebook users can follow GB Deaf football for live text updates and possibly live streams of the games.


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