Professional coach works with Deaf soccer team in Sappro City, Hokkaido Prefecture

Captain Takahashi (left) and his teammates during practice aiming at the national athletic game.

Fukagawa Tomotaka (38), a hearing coach of the Sapporo U-18 team for 8 years, has kept working with the Hokkaido Prefecture Deaf soccer team once every month since the summer of 2008.

The National Deaf Soccer competition will take place in Kagoshima Prefecture in the southern island of Japan on December 4-5. Coach Fukagawa hopes the Deaf team to win by all means.

The final practice before the competition was held at the Prefecture Sapporo School for the Deaf in Sapporo City on November 27. Fukagawa was unable to make it due to the conflict with the U-18 team which also had a workout.

Twelve Deaf players practiced hard enough to throw the sweat. Head coach Ishihara Ryo (35) said that the boys became more motivated thanks to Mr. Fukagawa.

"Could you send a professional player to teach the Deaf soccer team?" Tamura Naomi (39), an interpreter of the Prefecture Deaf Soccer Society, e-mailed to the Hokkaido Football Club located in Sapporo City in July, 2008. The club decided to send Fukagawa, a former Sapporo FW.

Fukagawa, who had never experienced in working with a Deaf group, felt uncertain at first about communications. However, with Tamura who interprets for the team, he felt relaxed. He also learned sign language, too which made him felt closer to the team players.

It is eye contact that Fukagawa coach emphasizes most. His desire for not only playing but also attitude and the spiritual aspect as the Hokkaido representative was conveyed to the teammates.

Tamura felt the players have become more concentrated on practice. Captain Takahashi Yuki (30) is grateful for Furugawa's work.

His work with the Deaf team has been made the best use of for his main job. In September, 2009, the practice match between the U-18 team and the Deaf group was held. The hearing teammates recognized again from the match how important it is to check out each other through calling.

Furugawa says, "The importance of communications was recognized again through working with the Deaf team. I have kept reminding of my work with the U-18 team more in detail". He has felt how valuable for his work with both the teams.

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