BMET crowned Ability Counts Knockout Cup winners

Students from across the country battled it out to become national champions in the ECFA Ability Counts knockout cup finals this week.

Not only was the event held at the prestigious St George’s Park, but the 150 students from 12 teams also had the unique opportunity to use the same changing rooms as the senior England football team.

Students with a range of disabilities competed to be crowned the best college team and for some it was the first time they had played against colleges from the opposite side of the country.

Sam Perks, AoC Sport’s disability development officer, said: “The quality of football was incredible with a real mix of experience – from those who are new to the sport, to those who play regularly and who have had England trials.

“The event meant so much to both the students and staff and we cannot wait to host more days like this one for college students with disabilities.”

Group games were played to decide who would progress into the knockout stages. There were a few outstanding performances on show and all games were played in a great spirit.

Truro & Penwith College, who were playing in the competition for the first time, reached the knockout phase.

The semi-finalists were made up of the first and second teams of Walsall College, Shipley College and Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMET).

Shipley made an extraordinary debut in the competition to reach the final against BMET. The teams were level at half-time but BMET proved the stronger team in the second half and ran out 3-1 winners.

The victory meant the West Midlands side were crowned ECFA Ability Counts Knockout Cup Champions after an unbeaten run in the competition.

The BMET men’s football Twitter account said: “It’s GOLD again for our @Bmetfootball ability counts team @AoC_SportComps national 5 aside cup held @StGeorgesPark ! The lads beat @Shipleycollesol 3-1 in the final! They are now double national champs and unbeaten in the competitions!! An amazing achievement.”

Finalists Shipley College said: “The officials were outstanding and very understanding with our players. If one of the players did something incorrect then instead of penalising them, they instructed and guided the players on how they could do it correctly. They were also very understanding with the different levels of ability on show within each team.”

Download the full results below.

As well as being an invaluable experience for students, it also proved a great coaching opportunity for a Walsall College student.

Mike is part of the Disability Football Academy based at Walsall College and has not only previously competed in the ECFA finals, but has also volunteered numerous times for AoC Sport at the National Cup Finals.

While at college he completed the FA Coaching Disabled Footballers course and his level 1 football coaching award. This gave him the knowledge and confidence to then lead the Walsall College second team all the way to the semi-finals in this week’s knockout cup finals – a great achievement.

“Thanks to AoC Sport for organising the event, it was a massive success. Our students really get something from this and it gave one of our students the opportunity to help with coaching a team at a big competition,” said Andy Higgins from Walsall College.

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