People are walking, not running, to the latest version of the beautiful game.
Walking Soccer, a staple in cities across Europe but relatively new still to North America, allows those who have been life-long lovers of the sport with the ability to continue playing the game they love,
The rules are the same, with the one caveat: that you cannot move faster than a walking pace.
Largely targeted to senior citizens, two Ontario clubs have already taken the first step and are setting up programs in their communities.
Oakville Soccer Club has been the first out of the game in bringing this option to their membership.
"One of the key focuses of the Oakville Soccer Club is to provide a positive soccer experience not only for our membership but for the community of Oakville," said Dave Harris, Executive Director at Oakville SC."One of the key demographics the Club has targeted is the senior population in Oakville, a group which was under represented at OSC. With this in mind, we spoke with members of the community regarding this program idea and its positive outcomes and Walking Soccer was created."
Burlington Youth Soccer Club is also preparing to get in on the action and will be launching their program Feb. 26.
"I saw walking soccer being played in my hometown Dundee, Scotland on a recent visit, and saw how popular it was and it made perfect sense to introduce it here," said Gordon King, Burlington Director of Operations. "It's a great chance to include as many people as we can that may not be able to play the game the way they used to due to an injury or health reasons."
Oakville receives about 40-45 participants each week and is run on two quarter fields.
"Aside from the overall well-being and physical fitness which the program provides to the players each week, Walking Soccer also provides a sense of camaraderie and friendship for all involved. The players meet each week in a fun setting to play soccer and socialize with each other and the results have been extremely positive," said Harris.
Burlington intends to offer the program as free enrollment and you can contact them for more information.
Oakville charges a small fee for participation and you can contact them for more information.
Ontario Soccer is looking at initiating its own Walking Soccer programming in the near future.
Additionally, at this year's Ontario Soccer Summit there will be an accessible soccer session that will focus on the growing need for competition in Ontario.
Club programs are becoming more robust and have a strong sense of identity which can be shared in healthy competition and festivals. This session will enable Clubs to discuss their ability to host a festival as well as rule considerations, age groups and transport. The session goal will be to identify 2-4 Clubs able and willing to host an event in 2017'.
Tag(s): Clubs/Districts News