Australia’s Deaf Football team are in action against North Korea in a historic friendly at Marconi Stadium

It represents the second meeting between the two sides following a landmark match in 2014 at Sydney Olympic Park, the first time North Korea’s football side had played on foreign land.

The event has brought together Australia’s Korean community, who will show their support as part of the bumper crowd expected for the 8pm kick-off.

Australia’s Deaf Football team may fly under the radar, but it is a story of perseverance and dedication as a result of the players and staff passion for the game. Deafness affects one in six of the Australian population, with eligibility for the Deaf team determined by the severity of hearing loss. The playing group communicate through a combination of spoken word and Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Often, observers of training sessions are surprised by the silence, as the players instead communicate through non-verbal methods.

Last year, the Australian team travelled to Chinese Taipei to compete in the Asia-Pacific Deaf Games, a trip self-funded by the players. The coaches lend their time voluntarily with the shared aim of becoming one of the world’s leading Deaf teams.

As part of this lofty goal, head coach Robert Stanton, also of Sydney FC’s highly successful youth team, has worked tirelessly to implement the new national playing style with the squad. With an emphasis on effective possession starting from the back, and high-tempo defensive play, the Deaf team closely resembles the Socceroos in terms of their style and approach. This also extends to the professionalism off the pitch, with the coaching staff extending in recent years to include a strength and conditioning coach and technical director to assist Stanton in his role.

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