It’s important that everyone has a fair go and equal opportunity to take part in sport.
There have been plenty of advancements for people to participate in soccer, even with disability. It shows that despite these personal circumstances, it’s possible for people to still fulfil their dream.
We look at the ways people with disability can still enjoy what the sport of soccer has to offer.
Blind and vision impaired soccer:
Blind (B1) competition is one of two formats of the game that is an international sport at the Paralympics.
In a team, four outfield players must have blindfolds over their eyes so there’s no advantage for those with a little bit of vision, while the goalkeeper can be fully or partially sighted so that they can call out when teammates approach the goal.
The ball is specially made to rattle and create noise so that players know where the ball is.
The other format is vision impaired/partially sighted (B2/B3) competition can be played by those with limited vision and futsal rules are used with minor adjustments.
In 2018, the City of Melbourne announced a $1.5 million redevelopment of North Melbourne Recreation Reserve that creates a facility to hold B1 international level competitions.
All Abilities League:
Inclusion is the sole focus of the All Abilities League, aiming to accept people into the game regardless of their age, gender or ability. It places an emphasis on having fun rather than being too results-driven.
Football Victoria has announced their All Abilities League competition will run for a third year in a row and is played during May-September.
This modified version of soccer accommodates for those using the electric wheelchair. It’s normally played on a typical basketball court with four players on each side (including the goalkeeper).
For people who require the electric wheelchair for daily mobility from conditions such as quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, hand trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury and other disabilities.
Every state in Australia has a local powerchair football program, making it highly accessable for people with different skills and experience.
Part of the Paralympics for people with brain or other similar conditions – it’s been a recognised sport in Australia since 1998.
Games are similar to a normal 11-person match with walking and running involved, however this format reduces it to seven meaning the field dimensions are smaller.
Other key differences are no offsides and the ability to take throw-ins with just one hand.
7-a-side competition is suited for people with a neurological impairment, including hypertonia, spasticity, dystonia, rigidity, ataxia and athetosis.