Surrey FC adapted soccer team offers kids with disabilities a kick at the ball
Special Olympics coaches trained volunteers to work one-on-one with players
An adapted soccer program in Surrey, B.C., is giving kids with development and intellectual disabilities the chance to show their talent on the field.
Many of the children taking part in Surrey FC's new adapted soccer program have never played on a team before.
The program was started by Surrey FC director Rob Bura, who saw a lack of opportunity for his son to get on the pitch.
"I wanted a place for my son to play," Bura said. "He played on a regular soccer team, but it just didn't fit."
Bura said his son spent most of his time sitting on the bench instead of playing.
"The problem is the coaches aren't trained to play with these children," he said.
That's not the case with Surrey FC's new team: Special Olympics of B.C. provided training for volunteers to work one-on-one with the players.
Bura says the extra help has given the kids a big boost.
"It feels great," said Inmol Gill, one of the players. "You get the adrenalin pumping up and it motivates you to play more."
Parents hesitant... at first
Bura said Surrey FC had a difficult time getting some parents interested in signing up their kids for the team.
"I think parents don't want to admit to the fact that their child is disabled or developmentally delayed or autistic," he said. "They don't want the stereotype that their child is disabled."
Hina Masood admits she was one of those parents, but she decided the team could make her son feel included.
"I changed my perspective because I wanted him to be involved in some sort of sport. I wanted him to be involved in the game, to enjoy the game," she said. "And I think he is enjoying it."
Surrey FC said it's hoping to expand the program with kids of all ages so they can play bigger games on the full width of the playing fields.
With files from Julianne Hazlewood