FA Futsal Level Two qualification, Coaching Disabled Footballers qualification, FA Coaching Level Two qualification (working towards) and a BTEC Level Three in Football.
As many of us know, these courses take a vast amount of time, effort and self-discipline to complete, but 18-year-old James Galt has passed through these with flying colours.
Despite being born profoundly deaf, James’ disability has not dampened his passion and determination to succeed in the sport he loves. The adopted Lancastrian has been involved in football across the north—west from an early age, starting as a player aged 11 to now assisting UEFA B Coach and England Futsal Captain, Steve Daley, at the Lancashire FA and Preston North End NW Disability Futsal Hub as a coach but also offering BSL support for players who require this support.
James started playing football at Cockerham Football Club as a junior player.
“I’d been there a few times but after a few weeks I was having difficulty understanding the coaches because the group was getting so large and one of the coaches didn’t wear his microphone.”
In September 2011 James’ mum Vicki started a deaf football club at Morecambe FC, the first club north of Manchester for deaf players. After 2 years James started to assist the coaches with signing support for other players in the team.
“I developed quite well at Morecambe, both as a player and as an individual. I overcame quite a few challenges and found that 7 a side or 5 a side was the form of football I wanted to get involved in rather than 11 a side as I struggled with coach information during matches. This was when I also got involved in futsal…”
After taking part in Lancashire FA’s (PDC) Player Development Centre, James found a new love for futsal – a faster, more technical version of football.
“Futsal pushed me much further than regular football,” he explained. “I played for a few months in outfield positions, but the coach then put me in the goalkeeping position which progressed me much further as a player, because I was much better in goal than outfield.”
“The reason I prefer playing futsal so much compared to football is down to a few things, one being it’s indoors and you don’t have to freeze outside on a cold, rainy evening in January! But in all seriousness, it’s much more intense, you can communicate more and technically it’s just brilliant.”
“Also, being deaf can make it difficult when playing outside on a football field as you can’t hear your coach who’s on the other side of the pitch. With futsal you’re not limited to a single position and you’re always in close proximity to the coach if he wants to pass on any instructions to you.”
Alongside his playing, James’ enthusiasm has led him onto coaching, and he is currently in the final few weeks of studying for his FA Level Two Coaching badge.
“I passed my Level One whilst I was at Myerscough College. In terms of any challenges I faced, that was ok really, as it was a case of how do you coach, how do players react to being coached etc.” James passed his FA level one in football at college. It was his own idea to do futsal level one in Liverpool during the second year at college – so may need to clarify which level one)
“The difficulty I found in doing my coaching badges was the quick turnaround in between studying for my Football FA level 1and then my Football FA level 2 – I only had a three month gap between passing the Level One and starting the Level Two… I’d definitely recommend giving it at least a year before you start the Level Two Coaching course!”
“I found studying for the Level Two difficult too because at the time I didn’t have a club or a team,” James explained. “The football at Morecambe Deaf FC had come to an end which made things really tricky at the time but I got through it and now can’t wait to get my Level Two.”
Throughout his football career to date, James has met and worked alongside some fellow inspiring coaches and players, namely Steve Daley.
“Having got to know Steve over the years I’ve worked with him at the Regional Disability Futsal Hub in Preston, he’s a great coach and a great person. I’ve learnt a lot from him, both as a player and as a coach, and it helps to see how he tells players what to do and instruct them.” Steve had spoken to James and they had undertaken similar issues at the same age, despite different disabilities, and James was helped through talking with Steve into developing his football career.
“Even though he’s visually impaired, this hasn’t hindered him and he’s got such a good tactical mind. I didn’t actually realise he was still in the England Futsal set up until a few months ago when he brought the shirts and medals in!” (James missed his statement he was off to the euros as was tidying up so was told by his brother. Steve had mentioned it)
On James and what he has achieved in football and futsal, Lancashire FA’s Disability and Inclusion Lead, Andrew Whitaker said: “It’s been really good to work with both James and his family and watching him grow and develop from a young man into an adult. Both James and the family are very keen supporters on making football and futsal as accessible as possible for all and I can’t wait to see what direction James goes in from here. “
We’d like to thank James and his mum, Vicki, for speaking to us and sharing their great story on overcoming the challenges James has faced in his career.
To learn more about the FA and their vision for deaf football, click here
To learn more about Lancashire FA’s Coaching deaf footballers course, click here
To learn more about disability and inclusion football within Lancashire, click here
To learn more about futsal, click here