Today marks World Down Syndrome Day, a global awareness day that helps to highlight what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
In celebration of the annual day of action which has been running since 2006, Everton star Seamus Coleman and Club Ambassador Ian Snodin met participants from Everton in the Community's Down syndrome team at Everton Free School to take part in a special game of football.
Before the game got underway, the Everton defender and former player sat down with the participants to help them in a design session as part of the #lotsofsocks campaign that runs every year as part of World Down Syndrome Day. The campaign sees the general public encouraged to wear different socks to help raise awareness around the international day and to get people talking about Down syndrome.
The group of participants then led the Blues' duo into the sports hall where they took part in a warm-up session led by Everton in the Community coaches before starring opposite each other in a competitive and adrenaline fuelled game of football.
The Ireland international spoke to evertontv after the game and said: “I've really loved being here today and first and foremost I was just delighted to be asked down to get involved. Once the game got going it was great, some of the finishing of the players was brilliant and it's something I've really enjoyed and although I am sweating quite a bit, it was brilliant.
“We're a family orientated Club and we as players really enjoy coming down to be a part of it and putting smiles on people's faces. They've also put a smile on myself this evening and I'll go home happy.”
Each year the aim of World Down Syndrome Day is to help advocate for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome and each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.
Snods also spoke to evertontv after the event and added : “That was absolutely fantastic, it's been a pleasure to be here today. Seamus and I have just spoken after that and wow, if you can't enjoy that with these kids, it's just been fantastic.
“We've had an hour and a half with them, colouring socks for the Down syndrome awareness day, and then to see them play football and the energy they have, especially the celebrations when they've scored a goal, honestly it's been an absolute pleasure to be here today with them all.”
The Everton in the Community Down syndrome team has been running for over three years and sees them train once a week and compete every other week in an open disability league. Through football, the project aims to create a multi-tier learning environment for the participants that will improve their overall physical, social and emotional abilities.
The official charity of Everton Football Club offers over 40 programmes covering a range of social issues including health, employability, anti-social behaviour, crime, education, dementia, poverty, youth engagement, youth justice and disability.
Operating 7 days a week, 365 days a year, Everton in the Community supports the most vulnerable and underprivileged members of local communities.
For more information on the work of Everton in the Community, click here.
Reader Comments (17)
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1 Posted 21/03/2017 at 06:09:20
Looks like they all had a good laugh and all for a great cause.
Sadly, I can't partake in this odd-sock business. I'm currently on a near two decade long only-wear-matching-socks streak. I could probably add another five years on that run, but for a horrible incident in my teens involving one black and another very very very very very dark blue sock.
2 Posted 21/03/2017 at 07:02:01
Now I wasn't going to write this and I know it's not PC or 'right' in any way, but when I saw the photo of Seamus laughing next to the boy with DownsSyndrome, I genuinely took a second to figure out which one was which.
3 Posted 21/03/2017 at 07:05:45
4 Posted 21/03/2017 at 07:28:52
His socks are from Asda by the way.
Not the usual designer gear of the Prem footballer.
Very down to earth young man.
6 Posted 21/03/2017 at 07:39:42
7 Posted 21/03/2017 at 08:03:33
8 Posted 21/03/2017 at 08:37:18
What about Everton in the Community though. Kenwright may have made some mistakes but sponsoring that program is a credit to him.
9 Posted 21/03/2017 at 09:10:19
We were fortunate to have two healthy boys and I can't even begin to comprehend the difficulties faced by parents of a Down Syndrome child. I am sure that the parents of each of these kids didn't get all the support they needed but as a society we need to provide the emotional and physical support for families with children who provide challenges.
Well done our club. You make us proud to be Evertonians and not just for what you do on the pitch.
10 Posted 21/03/2017 at 09:29:23
He has no affiliation with Everton, not that it matters these days if he had.
Seamus makes me proud whether wearing green or blue and I look forward to his trying to shackle Bale this Friday.
11 Posted 21/03/2017 at 09:46:31
Really enjoyed watching that, and although we want to start progressing and winning cups. I also hope that EITC can also continue to progress because it's such a fantastic organisation.
12 Posted 21/03/2017 at 09:59:29
How do you work that one out? Coleman has signed contract extensions and only ever spoke of his desire to continue playing for Everton. With reference to a 'big' club, I will also challenge you on that – there is no bigger than Everton and I guess Seamus also feels that way. Seamus is a credit to Everton and he along with Baines should be commended for the level of work that they invest in EITC.
13 Posted 21/03/2017 at 10:10:00
What has a contract extension got to do with him being loyal to Everton?
My point is that if a club willing to pay bigger wages and in a better position to challenge for trophies came along with an acceptable bid for Coleman that he'd be off and I'd have no problem with that.
I assume that no such bid has ever been received and so he's happy giving his all for Everton.
It applies to 99% of football players I'd have thought.
14 Posted 21/03/2017 at 11:35:10
15 Posted 21/03/2017 at 23:24:01
16 Posted 22/03/2017 at 00:59:49
18 Posted 22/03/2017 at 06:33:00
19 Posted 23/03/2017 at 00:30:52