PECKHAM TOWN EMBRACE INCLUSIVE FOOTBALL
Tommy Hobson - goalkeeper for Peckham Town FC talks to London FA about playing for club and country.
How did you get into football first and how long have you been involved in the game?
I first started playing football age of 8, although I kept trying out different sports such as swimming and cricket etc. Then at the age of 12 that’s when I started to play football with a passion and I have been playing football 12 years now. I first started to play for senior team when I was 16 with Charlton Deaf Men’s and been the first choice for past 7 years.
You currently play for Peckham Town as goalkeeper. Can you explain your experience and how the deaf community engages with the hearing community?
The opportunity to play for Peckham Town FC came at the end of January 2019 - their standard is top level - which I thought I would never be able to reach - I was WRONG! Peckham Town have been brilliant - they understood they had to be patient with me. I lip read my teammates and they also make gestures to communicate with me. As I have been profoundly deaf since birth, grown up with a hearing family, and had speech therapy to help me practice my talking, this has made me more able to shout to my defence and listen to what’s going on - although it’s good being a goalkeeper where they can’t talk back at me! If deaf people knew how to break the barriers to get into the team it would be easier to engage with the hearing community. I know couple of deaf players that have played at the professional level. It just depends on whether the club is open to disability or special needs. We as deaf people have to work harder to get into the team but anything is possible.
You recently played in the Deaf Champions League for Charlton please tell us what that was like?
Hosting the 12th Deaf Champion’s league, and participating in the tournament for first time in Charlton's history, I couldn’t be more proud of this club. It was a dream to play my first DCL with this club and it came true! Playing against teams from all over Europe was an amazing experience - we came 6th out of 14 teams which is an incredible achievement, and have qualified for next year’s DCL in Sweden. I also got know to people from Europe, communicating using International Sign Language. It’s been an amazing week.
Who would be your role model in football?
My role model is Ederson Moraes, a Manchester City goalkeeper. I love how he plays with his feet - he’s a sweeper keeper who likes to take a risk. So do I (haha), it’s the modern thing to do - and shows that we can keep calm and play football, instead of kicking the ball to the opposition.
You are hoping to represent England at the Deaf European Championship in the summer. Please tell us more about this great achievement
To be part of the squad travelling to Crete for the Deaf European Championship for England would be my greatest achievement. They are taking two very excellent keepers with plenty of experience on the plane to Crete, so I’m currently the reserve goalkeeper. I’m only 23 and learning, but have been unlucky with injuries for past few years - I may be gutted not to go but anything could happen in the next 2 weeks! It has been a very good experience for me, Peckham will help me get to the next level and hopefully I can get on the plane to South Korea for the Deaf World Cup next summer.