8 blindfolds, 6 coaches and a rattling ball: The recipe for blind soccer
Kitchener Soccer Club starting new blind soccer team
The Kitchener Soccer Club is hoping to make history next month, establishing a new soccer team for the visually impaired.
Blind soccer is the only sport in which Canada didn't have a team in the 2015 Parapan Am Games.
"Canada was in every sport, in every venue, except for blind soccer," said John Fearnall with the Kitchener Soccer Club.
Then two rattling soccer balls arrived in a box of equipment from the Games legacy fund.
"As soon as we found out what they were, I showed it to my coaches and they said, 'When are we starting'?" Fearnall said.
This summer, teams will launch in Kitchener, Fergus and Elora and Pickering.
How to play
Blind soccer, also known as five-a-side football, requires 10 players. This includes two sighted goalies and eight blindfolded players on the field.
The ball makes an audible noise, "like a baby rattle," Fearnall said, and the game is played indoors to minimize distracting sounds.
Six coaches guide the players:
- One on each end of the field, by the goal posts. They hit the post in the centre of the net so players have a target to aim at.
- Two on each side of the field. They ensure the players stay on the pitch and direct them through verbal communication.
Collisions do happen, Fearnall said, and are tolerated. But if a player is believed to purposefully have run into another player five times in the course of a game, they are thrown out.
The Kitchener Soccer Club is still looking for players and coaches. Fearnall hopes to have the league up and running by May 27.