Ontario Soccer recognizes the growth in soccer for players with disabilities. Greater representation is being made at an international level through events such as the Paralympics and the growing interest from players at the grassroots level is an encouraging sign. Currently at an international level there are six recognized forms of soccer for players with a disability. These are:
The Canadian Soccer Association supports a team for international competition for players with Cerebral Palsy. Details about the Players. Management and Results can be found by following the link below.
While Ontario Soccer is not in a position to endorse or recommend one program over another it is essential to encourage players to reach their goals and nurture a love for soccer. Ontario Soccer encourages and supports the work of its Districts and their Member Clubs in their efforts to offer playing opportunities to the whole community. Those interested in participating are encouraged to contact their local District Association
for advice on Programs in their area.
For further advice use the following links to find out more about opportunities for players with disabilities and for guidance on inclusion within your current soccer programs:
Question: Which disability groups participate in the Paralympic Games?
The Paralympic Games is the largest sports competition for athletes with a disability worldwide and currently involves athletes from several disability categories. The five main disability categories are: amputee, cerebral palsy, blind and visually impaired, spinal injury and Les Autres (French for "the others", a category that includes conditions that do not fall into the categories mentioned). When it comes to soccer the current formats allow for two categories: Blind/Visually Impaired (5-a-side) and Cerebral Palsy/Head Injuries (7-a-side).
Question: What is the Classification system?
Classification for the Paralympics is simply a structure for competition. Not unlike wrestling, boxing and weighlifting, where athletes are categorized by weight classes, athletes with a disability are grouped in classes defined by the degree of function presented by the disability. Beyond the tradtional disability groups distinction in the Paralympic Movement, sport classes are determined by a variety of processes that may include a physical and technical assessment and observation in and out of competition. The classes are defined by each sport and form part of the sport rules.
Classification is an ongoing process. When an athlete starts competing, they are allocated a sport class that may be reviewed througout the athlete's career. Certified officials conduct the process and are known as classifiers.
Making a Difference
Special Olympics provides athletes with an intellectual disability the opportunity to experience and succeed in sport. Special Olympics athletes gain self-confidence and transfer the success from the playing field to become more active citizens in society. Special Olympics is not an event that takes place once every four years. Rather, there are hundreds of Special Olympics' programs throughout the province which provide athletes with the opportunity to train year round. Special Olympic athletes train and compete at community and regional events and have the opportunity to advance to Provincial level competitions.