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Blind Soccer Comes To Brantford

By OSA News, 12/05/14, 8:45PM EST


On Dec. 3, people around the world celebrated the United Nations International Day for Persons with a Disability and in Brantford, Ontario it was no different.

At the W. Ross MacDonald School, which serves blind students and students with low vision, the school gym became a hive of activity as Matt Greenwood, OSA Manager of Club Development and Greg Theriault, from Ontario Blind Sport Association, led two groups of students through some fun practices before ending in small sided games.

A small group of Grade 7 and 8's first worked on some passing and dribbling before finishing with an exciting game. The second, larger group was a mix of high school age students, some with provincial experience in goalball and some with no experience at all in soccer.

Fourteen of the participants had low vision and were able to get actively involved in every part of the session including a fast paced, small-sided-game at the end of the session. Another six of the participants were legally blind (B1) and during most of the session this meant added staff support to ensure they participated fully.

For safety reasons the B1's were able to play their own small-sided-game on a smaller field with staff providing instruction from the edge of the field.

As with every game there were strong players, those who instinctively wanted to be the goalkeeper and some great finishes. The school plans to carry on the soccer sessions and had recently completed a curriculum component on the sport so guest coaches were greatly appreciated.

"The kids 'had a blast and really enjoyed themselves," said Ed Zinger, Head of Physical Education and Athletics at the school.

With blind soccer a major part of the Para Pan American Games next year in Toronto it's great to know that there is a grassroots interest here in Ontario as the province prepares to welcome the world best in August 2015.