Remarkable season for Fulham Deaf FC sees them achieve promotion and two national cups

It was a more enduring season than anyone at Fulham Deaf Football Club anticipated, but the hard work reaped rewards with a trophy double.

Days after securing promotion from Surrey Intermediate Division Two, the Whites saw off Glasgow DFC 3-0 in extra time on May 7 to claim the British Deaf Cup.

A week later they were crowned English Deaf Cup champions after beating St Johns DFC 2-0 to mark the finest season in the club’s history since their formation in 2003.

Despite keeping clean sheets in both finals, defender Fil Kamps said both games were far from foregone conclusions, while he also praised his team-mates’ extraordinary efforts.

Kamps said: “Against Glasgow we dominated possession but we missed a few big chances. My volley struck the crossbar early on and we even missed a penalty.

“Going into extra time our manager was very passionate and believed it was there for the taking. He told us to continue to show our desire, be smart and the goal would come.”

The deadlock was broken almost instantaneously through left-back Andrew Kenward, before top-scorer Jacob Willis scored twice to break the hearts of a spirited Glasgow.

Willis took his tally to 35 goals in all competitions with his late double, and Kamps said for someone who hasn’t yet reached their peak it is frightening to see how good he could become.

“Jacob is an invaluable piece of the jigsaw,” said Kamps, “At only 24 he has a wealth of experience at club and at international level. I’m sure he will continue to terrorise defences for many more years.”

Fil Kamps with the British Deaf Cup - Credit Fil KampsVICTORIOUS: Fil Kamps with the British Deaf Cup

When Fulham DFC took on St Johns DFC in the final of the English Deaf Cup on 15 May Kamps said it was another game filled with drama and nerves.

Daniel Hogan opened the scoring in the first half with a penalty, atoning for his miss from 12 yards in the British Deaf Cup, before Sam Evans scored late on to secure the double.

Kamps said: “It feels brilliant to have been a part of the most successful season in the club’s history. After three years without a major trophy it was so important to us.

“We wanted to show why we are considered one of the best deaf teams in the country and in Europe, and I think we’ve shown that this season with all we’ve accomplished.”

As for next season, Kamps was forthright in what he believes the club could achieve, even targeting a first title overseas in the deaf Champions League.

He said: “We’re aiming to gain promotion again and progress up the football pyramid. It will be a challenge but I’m confident we have the personnel in place to ensure it happens.

“We intend to successfully defend both our national titles and have set our sights on adding the big European one to our collection — a competition we’ve never won.”

Team - Credit Fil KampsDREAM TEAM: Fulham DFC celebrate their wins

Kamps and seven other Fulham DFC players will now turn their attentions to the Deaf World Cup later this month in Italy across the towns of Agropoli, Cappacio and Eboli.

He said: “Fulham has a proud history of producing some of the finest deaf players in the country in recent years.

“Last year six players represented Team GB in Germany and for two more to be selected is a phenomenal achievement for the players and the club.

“I’m honoured to have been picked myself and it’s something that I have been working towards for a long time. To read my name on the squad list was a feeling like no other.

“We have been working hard at Team GB training camps throughout the season to ensure we have the best chances of winning the competition and making everyone proud.”

While Kamps and his team-mates are thrilled to have been selected for the squad, there is still a considerable amount of money that needs to be raised.

Great Britain Deaf Football is a voluntary self-funded organisation, relying solely on donations and fundraising activities in order to participate in competitions.

You can donate to them here.

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