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Published 02 December 2022 4 min read
England Para Teams

Jamie Clarke: 'Gold is where we want to aim for'

Written by:

Alec McQuarrie

2023 is a big year for England Deaf men’s football captain Jamie Clarke.
The striker, who is also a part-time model, will lead his team out at two major championships in the space of two months. 

In May, the Para Lions fly to South Korea to compete in the first World Deaf Football Championship for nine years, before heading to Turkey for EuroDeaf in June. 

And the Pershore Town forward has an arsenal of individual accolades, including England’s youngest player at a World Championships in 2008, but now it's a collective title he is gunning for. 

“We hope to win the World Championships," said Clarke. "I’ll have played for England for the past 15 years and obviously my biggest achievement is a bronze medal [Euros in Germany 2015], but I want gold before I retire. 

“That is what I’m going for. The bronze was an amazing feeling. But we can’t stop now. Gold is where we want to aim for.” 

And the FA’s continued support and funding with the landmark Football Your Way three-year plan, has meant Clarke and his squad can focus on delivering on the pitch. 

“It's a big help because it saves us the worry of having to fundraise and paying out of your own pocket for travel and everything like that,” said Clarke. 

“So when they gave us everything it felt like you had a free mind and could concentrate on the football more. It gives us a better chance to go for gold.”
All smiles for Jamie Clarke during an England Deaf men’s training session
All smiles for Jamie Clarke during an England Deaf men’s training session
02 Dec 2022 0:39

Deaf football explained...

Find out more about the format of football played by Jamie and his squad mates

There's added incentive to come home from South Korea with the title, after the Deaf Women’s futsal team became European champions in October. 

Deaf Women’s football captain Emma Brown playfully teases Clarke with the achievement, but there is no jealousy from the men’s skipper. 

“For the women to win [Futsal Euros 2022 in Italy], it gives us extra motivation,” said Clarke.  

“At the same time, we’re very proud of them because they deserve it and I witnessed what they did so I'm extremely proud of all the girls.” 

Entering the autumn of his career, Clarke has grown into a strong leader that the younger members of the squad respect, and is more than happy to help those who feel they are struggling. 

“I’m a very confident captain,” said Clarke. “I think I’m a good role model as well. The players are comfortable with me which is the most important thing.  

“They always come to me for tips or advice, so I’m approachable and how I communicate all depends on the person.  

“If the player prefers to speak, I’ll speak and if they prefer to sign, I’ll sign.” 

Alongside captain’s responsibilities, Clarke has several modelling contracts, including one with a London-based agency, but there’s no competition when it comes to which role takes priority. 

“In the past I would choose England captain over modelling if I had to keep one, and that is still the same," he said. 

"I have still got all the passion for football. I just love it.”