A Chelmsford coach has led a deaf football team to victory at the National Deaf Football Tournament. 

Steve Down, of Chelmsford, coached the Real Madrid Elite U-16’s to be crowned U-16 champions at the National Deaf Football Tournament.

The aspiring young deaf footballers battled it out against teams from across the UK at St George’s Park at the tournament, run by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).

Their final game against Derby DFC ended in a 1-0 victory and sealed their fate as U-16 champions of the UK’s largest club based football tournament for deaf children.

Hundreds of deaf young people took part in this year’s annual five a side tournament, which is the ninth to be held as part of NDCS’s Me2 project.

The initiative aims to ensure that deaf young people are fully supported to fulfil their potential and enjoy playing the sports they love.

Steve Down said: “I am unbelievably proud of the team.

"Today’s great result is a credit to the hard work they’ve put in since day one and the ability to believe in themselves and strive for success.

"I hope they inspire other deaf young people to get involved in sport.”

Tyron Woolfe, Deputy Director, Children and Young People for NDCS said: “I’d like to congratulate Real Madrid Elite on a really fantastic performance and commitment shown throughout the tournament.

“Our national finals day is a celebration of the football clubs and coaches who have succeeded in making the beautiful game accessible to deaf children and spreading the message that deafness doesn’t have to hold you back.

 “Involving deaf children in football is great for developing their social skills and I hope that every young person who took part can take-away some reinforced self-confidence and memories of a really great event.”

Clubs who want to find out about becoming accessible to deaf children, can email football@ndcs.org.uk or visit www.ndcs.org.uk/football for details.