This is a summary of the Coaching Disabled Footballers courses held across southern Ontario in Feb, 2015. While the basic facts are outlined the key outcomes listed at the end of this document highlight the impact and opportunities observed.
Course Dates and Locations
- Saturday Jan 31st 14 candidates Whitby
- Sunday Feb 1st 26 candidates Whitby
- Wednesday Feb 4th 19 candidates Brantford
- Thursday Feb 5th 13 candidates Ottawa
RBC Learn to Play Grant: This was a joint application between the Abilities Centre, Whitby and the Ontario Soccer Association. The grant has two parts; the first is the delivery of the coach education course and the second is the roll out of 2x 8 week blocks of programming at the Abilities Centre to be led by Matt Greenwood with Abilities Centre staff.
America Cup 2014 Legacy: The training of more coaches and promotion of Club programs was outlined in the Legacy Plan submitted to both Federal and Provincial governments. This funding enabled the course candidates to attend for free.
The Abilities Centre is a state of the art accessible complex located in Whitby and was the key partner working with Ontario Soccer Association for the submission of the grant application to managing the Tutors accommodation and flights.
Ontario Soccer Association led the booking and promotion of the course to its membership and known Clubs offering such programs and coordinated the social media content (twitter, Facebook and OSA website).
- Ross MacDonald School for the Blind provided their site at no charge including gym and classroom space.
Kevin England, FA Tutor and National Team Coach for English Deaf Squad. Kevin was hosted by Matt Greenwood on a daily basis and based in Whitby for the course of the week. On a daily basis he was transported to each course location as required which allowed for a thorough review of the days course afterwards.
72 coaches representing 29 different soccer clubs as well as education practitioners including Peel-Halton School Board, City of Markham, Crescent School, Special Olympics and 5 Abilities Centre staff.
- The course content included reference to the Canadian pathways for disabled athletes in comparison with the English model. While the two have little in common it did highlight the need to communicate clearer on how athletes in our Clubs might progress to the highest level and to whom they should work with.
- The willingness to share and collaborate between the attendees was overwhelming. Clubs included Pickering SC, Fergus Elora District Soccer and Nepean Soccer Club willingly share their experiences and opened their doors to other Clubs to learn from them and attend their events.
- Tutor Kevin England drove home the message on each course the importance of the candidates to act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the CSA when it comes to recruiting potential ParaSoccer players. Participants were enthused by the fact that we had a national program for this group and that they could play a role in helping the program and would like more information on how to scout and who to contact if they think they have a player. Education of CP athletes was supplemented by a practical session focused on their needs.
- Very little, if any, of the course was changed for the Ontario audience. There was interesting discussion around the choice of some words that may be deemed appropriate/inappropriate in the UK v Canada. Fundamentally the course is focused on creating the right environment to share experiences and feel comfortable working with athletes with a disability.
- Blind soccer was something that fascinated all attendees and drew the most interest for them to experience.
- Create a disability specific soccer course adapted from FA content but underpinned with heavy LTPD content and input from CP sport and Special Olympics groups.
- Expand on ParaSoccer marketing to ensure Club coaches are targeted to raise awareness of program and their role in scouting for the program.
- Provide ongoing opportunities for special needs club leaders to collaborate (Development Conference, Festivals etc.)
- Formalise strategic plan content to support new club programs, development of player pathway and strategic partners.
- Maintain momentum from this event which has stimulated a lot of good will and positive impetus.
Small group work discussing appropriate language
Tutor Kevin England oversees demo on blind soccer
A range of ball sizes, textures, sounds and colour were used.
Dick Howard tries his hand at blind soccer for the first time.