Welcome…

Welcome to this, my first venture into the world of blogging. The sole purpose of this little space is to share knowledge of the many forms of soccer for athletes with a disability. At this early stage I have simply separated the blog in to my observations/ actions and then sub categories where I have linked you, the reader, to Academic Papers, Good Practice and finally some Resources from Governing Bodies in the soccer/football and disability sport world.

My experience comes from work in England under the direction of The Football Association and their National Disability Football Strategy. Over the past ten years I’ve been building something of a role in Ontario, Canada that aims to service the growing number of clubs offering special needs programs.

This blog is a further extension of that support; a place to find and share plans, procedures, policies and practices that can further inform the soccer community. Programs in Ontario have been running for many years now but since programs in Ontario Clubs took off in 2014 we can really start to see the potential for more development.

Development takes many forms and within a typical soccer model we would expect to see multiple streams of development that address the:

  • Player
  • Coach
  • Competition and
  • Match Official

As this blog is Canada based, it will look to align with, and inform, the Canadian Sport for Life model (CS4L). While from an Ontario perspective we can leverage the drive towards accessibility across all aspects of society under the Accessibility for Ontarians with a Disability Act (2005). With all of this said, we’re still simply scratching the surface on what can be achieved. At the time of writing;

  1. 19 Clubs in Ontario are offering special needs programs and they will all be mentioned within the pages of this blog.
  2. Interest is growing towards more competition between Club programs following work in Fergus-Elora District Soccer (adult) and Pickering Soccer Club (youth) to offer festival type events.
  3. Tentative work has begun to build soccer specific coaching courses that address athletes with a disability. Special Olympics have a history in this area but there’s growing demand for courses that address athletes with a physical disability.
  4. Funding has been something that only one Club to date has really got to grips with (Pickering Soccer Club). As Clubs become aware of the benefit to their program it is hoped that they will take the chance to submit applications which will provide much needed resources.

Thank you for reading.MG.

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