The Alberta Soccer Association is attracting a new group of players to the pitch — athletes with physical and mental disabilities.
The Soccability program provides coaching and games for children and adults with disabilities in Calgary and Edmonton.
The program uses an inclusive approach to coaching so that more players, regardless of physical or learning disability, can play.
"I could have the worst day ever and come in, coach these guys, and you walk out with a big smile. And that's the reward for coaches ," said John Clubb, who coaches in Calgary.
"They will try anything you ask, because no one has said they can't do it."
As Kathleen Colmant watches her 10-year-old son Tom kick the ball around the gym, she explains her boy is autistic with high anxiety.
But he's much calmer here, she said.
"Parents feel safe, they feel understood ... and the kids belong. They belong together and have a great time," Colmant said.
"When they have a game ... Tom scores on both goals. And it's OK."
The program also includes a game for people in power wheelchairs.
Clubb said he hopes to expand Soccability to Red Deer.
"We do need coaches and we do need players," he said.