Forest of Dean goalkeeper selected for England Deaf Women's World Cup squad

Forest of Dean football club Ellwood FC's own Natasha Hamm prepares to head to Malaysia, as she's chosen for the England Deaf Women's World Cup 2023 squad.

By Kaleigh Pritchard  |  Published
Forest of Dean native, Natasha Hamm, is one of the 20 women heading to Malaysia this September, for the Deaf Women's World Cup 2023.

Natasha Hamm, a Deaf footballer from Coleford in the Forest of Dean, is preparing for the opportunity of a lifetime as she joins the line-up of the England Deaf Women's World Cup squad for the 2023 tournament, taking place in Malaysia.

The 33-year-old was chosen for the 20-strong side playing in this year's competition, joining talented Deaf women from across the country — with Hamm taking an all-important goalkeeper position in the team's formation.

With previous international caps for England and Great Britain as a defender, Hamm is no stranger to high-stakes football, but outside of competing on the world stage, she still plays for her local side, Ellwood Ladies FC.

A keen sportswoman, Hamm said her father has been a key component to her success, having been a source of encouragement and long-time manager for Ellwood Ladies FC when she joined the club at 18 years old.

She also said: 'I'm absolutely over the moon, everyone in the forest has been so supportive. I've been waiting to be able to represent my country again since before Covid, so I definitely got emotional when I received the news.

'The preparation regime now is strict, no drinking, lots of training sessions, but I can't wait to get out on the pitch.'

As the Lionesses roar into another campaign for major league victory this summer, kicking off on Thursday 20 July 2023, the England Deaf Women's squad very nearly didn't make it to their own championship, taking place later in the year.

The team needed at least £50,000 by the end of June 2023 to be able to compete in Kuala Lumpar in September 2023. Being entirely self-funded, the Deaf Sports and Football Foundation launched a Crowdfunding mission to help raise the money. 

Thanks to immense generosity and support — and donations from football legends such as Steven Gerrard and Gary Lineker — the team raised over £70,000, with the £50,000 target surpassed in just 12 days. 

Hamm's teammate, Claire Stancliffe, added: 'It's important to show that there's 12 million people in the UK with hearing loss — that's one in six people. And it's such an isolating disability that I think the more awareness this conveys, the better.

'The players fully deserve it and have every right to go, not just to play but to compete at the highest level they can. It means everything.'

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