Zara Musker: Campaigning for equality on the pitch

England Football recently launched their new home and away kits which will be used by the men’s, women’s, and Para teams in 2024. The kit launch acted as an opportunity to help inspire those with a disability to take up football.

To find out more about the importance of this all-inclusive kit launch, we got in contact with Deaf women’s captain Zara Musker who was one of the faces behind the campaign. Carry on reading to learn more about the message behind the launch and Zara’s hopes for the future of “The Beautiful Game”.

  1. Hi Zara, first, can you tell us a bit more about how this opportunity came about?

Hi, it is lovely to chat with the Signature team again! The opportunity landed in my emails after returning to England having represented England Deaf Women’s Futsal team in Brazil back in November where we won bronze. Back in 2021, the FA launched the #FootballYourWay campaign which aimed to help develop, improve, and raise awareness of disability football and futsal within England. Since then, we have found ourselves being spoken about in the same sentences as the England and Lionesses teams, which is having a huge impact on growing disability football and futsal. The FA are passionate to involve the para teams with the England and Lionesses work and this 2024 kit launch is a huge statement.

  1. What were your initial emotions when you were told you were going to be a part of this campaign?

When I got around to reading my email, I had to re-read it again because it’s not an opportunity that I ever thought would be presented to me. I have been involved in para futsal and football since I was 13 years old and I have been through the times where no-one knows who we are, despite representing England at major tournaments. So, for the FA to be taking this approach with the para teams is such a significant landmark for para teams and para players. It instantly made me feel excited that we are getting to this point in society where disability sport is being promoted and represented. I knew it was a huge opportunity to raise awareness and inspire the next generation of boys and girls who are dreaming of playing football or futsal for England and I am extremely grateful that I can play a part in paving the path for others. On a personal note, I refuse to see an opportunity to make such important changes and not take it. I am in a stage of my life whereby I am trying to understand my purpose and my path, being able to make a difference and inspire others is extremely important to me. To be involved in the launch with other para players and some of the most amazing, humble, and successful people I have ever met was a profound moment for me that I will never forget.

  1. How important is the new kit launch, in terms of inclusivity and the message behind it?

The kit launch is undoubtedly the most significant launch that the FA has had para players involved in. To be sat and stood alongside England men and women’s players highlights just how much the FA are buying into promoting disability football and futsal and creating an elite pathway for others to come. The message is clear that we are continuously striving to make football and futsal inclusive to everyone. As a para player and a deaf football/futsal player, this kit launch sends the message that despite the differences that we all deal with, we are being represented equally as we all have the same common goals. To represent England, to win medals and to inspire others to come after us and take sport to higher levels.

  1. For the future generations of aspiring footballers, what message does this all-inclusive kit launch convey?

We often talk about role-models in life and usually, one question that I was always faced with growing up was, ‘Who is your role model?’ I never had the answer to those questions. I was constantly looking for a role-model who I could relate too. This kit launch is another step forward to creating role models for young girls and boys who are looking for footballers to aspire to be. The future generations of aspiring footballers can see this kit launch and be inspired, opening their eyes to a world of football that they may never even think exists.

  1. You recently competed at the Winter Deaflympics in the futsal team, can you tell us a bit more about this experience?

Yes, me and the Great Britain Women’s Futsal team made history competing in the Winter Deaflympics for the first time which is again just a huge achievement for me and the team. I have to step back sometimes and just thank whoever is looking down at me for giving me the opportunities that I have been given over the past 3-4 years. Despite not getting on the podium this time, it was a great learning experience for me as a player and us as a team as we have lots of tournaments coming up over the next few years. It was another tournament that really highlighted how far Women’s deaf futsal has come and is going, the standard is getting better and better year on year which is amazing to be a part

  1. On a more personal note, do you have any upcoming events or campaigns that you would like to share with us?

There is always something going on! So, I am in the process of getting involved in the Great Britain Women’s football teams as we prepare to qualify for the summer Deaflympics in Tokyo next year. Futsal wise, we have the World Championships next year too. I am also very fortunate to be training with the England mainstream futsal squad as we prepare for the World Qualifiers in October.

Here at Signature, we would like to thank Zara for highlighting the importance of this campaign for children across the country. It is important that both deaf and hearing children have role models that they can aspire to be like in the footballing sphere. The launch highlights the FA’s goal to promote disability football and futsal. Like Zara, we hope that this launch inspires the younger generation of footballers to simply go for it!

Share this article: