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University student is playing football for England at Deaf World Cup

A University of Gloucestershire Physiotherapy student and sports scholar is taking inspiration from the England women’s football team after being selected to play for England at the 2023 Deaf Football World Cup in Malaysia.

Clodagh Farrell is in the second year of her BSc Physiotherapy course at the University while also enrolled on the institution’s sports scholarship programme that helps talented athletes, officials and aspiring coaches achieve their ambitions across a wide range of sports.

Clodagh, who plays for the University’s women’s football team, was called up to represent England at the Deaf Football World Cup after impressing selectors in trials for the squad.

England’s opponents in the group stages of the showpiece tournament are Turkey (tomorrow, 23 September), Poland, Japan and United States, with the matches to be played at various stadiums in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Clodagh said the England players’ achievements at the recent Women’s World Cup in Australia, where the Lionesses were beaten 1-0 in the final by Spain, were a source of inspiration.

Clodagh said: “I’m really excited about playing for England at the Deaf Football World Cup in Malaysia. The performance of the Lionesses in the recent World Cup in Australia was really inspiring and it’s providing us with lots of motivation and belief for our tournament.

“It’s also a great opportunity for me to learn more sign language and become more involved in my deaf community, in a way that I know how to – through football.

“It’s been really nice spending time with the team and constantly learning new signs.”

Adrian Bevan, Academic Course Leader for BSc Physiotherapy, said: “Clodagh is popular with other students on her cohort and lecturers alike.

“With diligence, she has managed to balance her studying and sporting commitments. We are really excited for her as she plays for England in Malaysia. We wish her every success in the tournament and look forward to hearing all about it when she returns to continue her studies at the University.”

The University’s sports scholarship programmes includes access to leading experts and current practitioners, and scholars are able to combine this bespoke support with any degree programme.

Graduates of the programme include referees Matthew Carley and Christophe Ridley, who are currently officiating at the Rugby World Cup in France.

Matt Tansley, the University’s Director of Sport and Physical Wellbeing, said: “We are absolutely delighted for Clodagh, It’s a privilege to be able to support her in balancing the demands of sport and university.

“It takes an incredible amount of commitment balancing study and international competition, so it is really inspiring to see an athlete like Clodagh doing so well in both.

“Women’s football is a priority sport for the University, we host one of only 12 FA Women’s High-Performance Centres and work with a range of players and coaches from home and abroad at various stages of their career.

“Our aim is always to ensure we support the whole person, and provide a pathway that ensures the best possible outcomes for our student athletes.”