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USA paralympic soccer disability team

Disability Soccer: What Are The Options

Disability soccer is defined by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

People with disabilities can receive long-lasting benefits from playing and participating in soccer at any level, both on and off the field. The soccer community supports six international disability categories for players with differing disabilities who want to represent their country.

These are Blind, Partially Sighted, Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Cerebral Palsy, Learning Disabilities, and Amputee.

Each variation has different classifications, rule adaptations, and competitions structure.

Blind Soccer

Classification: Blind soccer players are classified according to their level of vision, like B1, B2, or B3. B1 players are considered blind (B2 and B3 players are classified as visually impaired or partially sighted).

Rule Adaptations:

  • A solid surface is used to play the game
  • Each team has five players
  • The outfielders must wear eye patches and blindfolds
  • Despite being sighted, the goalkeeper cannot leave the area
  • There is no offside rule
  • Soccer balls contain ball bearings, so when they move they make a noise

Partially Sighted Soccer

Classification: Disability soccer players whose eyesight is classified B2 or B3 qualify as partially sighted.

Rule Adaptations:

  • Indoor pitches are used with a size-4 ball that bounces less than a standard ball
  • There are corners and throw-ins, as in FIFA games, and the ball can go above the head
  • A goalkeeper is sighted, but cannot leave his or her area

Deaf/Hearing Impaired Soccer

Classification: Disability soccer players must have an average hearing loss of 55 decibels in the better ear

Rule adaptations:

  • The game is played by normal FIFA rules
  • However, players must not wear hearing aids

Cerebral Palsy Soccer

Classification: Disability soccer players must be ambulant.

Rule Adaptations:

  • There are seven players on each side
  • There are two halves of 30 minutes each
  • There is no offside
  • Players are allowed to roll or throw the ball back into play (to aid players with hemiplegia, paralysis down one side of the body)

Learning Disability Soccer

Classification: Disability soccer players must have an intellectual disability, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO). To meet this standard, the player’s IQ score must be within or below the range of 70-75. Furthermore, their intellectual disability must have been evident during the developmental period (0-18 years). In addition, players must be in receipt of at least two of the following: special education, special accommodation, special employment, special protection, respite care, financial support.

Rule Adaptations:

  • The game is played according to the standard FIFA rules.

Amputee Soccer

Classification: Outfield players are either above or below-knee single-leg amputees. They must play without prostheses on aluminum wrist-crutches. The goalkeepers are single-arm amputees.

Rule Adaptations:

  • Each half lasts 25 minutes
  • Offsides do not exist
  • Each side has seven players with unlimited substitutions
  • Sizes of the pitch and goals are different – usually 60m by 40m
  • Goalkeepers are not allowed to leave the penalty area
  • With crutches, players are not allowed to strike the ball or another player
  • In the event of an infringement, the player would be given a ‘hand ball’ decision, and the opposition would be awarded a direct free kick
  • Slide-tackles are not permitted
  • Instead of throwing the ball, players kick it into play
  • It is forbidden for players to touch the ball with their stumps
  • Goalkeepers cannot save the ball with their stump; if this rule is broken, a penalty is awarded

Paralympic 7-A-Side Soccer

During the 1984 Paralympic Games, soccer was introduced. Then, in 1992, the U.S. team competed in the first Paralympic Games in Barcelona. In matches, FIFA rules are modified, including the size of the field, size of the goals, number of players, and offside rules. To participate in a Paralympic Soccer event, participants must be classified by a team of certified classifiers into categories according to their level of disability.

Classification: To be eligible, players must be able to walk (without assistance). Athletes with neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, a stroke, or a brain injury, can participate in Paralympic soccer competitions. The level of disability may cause only minimal motor dysfunction in these players.

Rule Adaptations:

  • Offsides are not allowed
  • FIFA rules allow under-arm throws if a player is physically incapable of throwing.
  • Restarts require opponents to be seven meters from the ball.
  • Based on their level of impairment, players are assigned to one of the three-sport classes. To ensure a fair game, each team must have an FT1 player on the field at all times and may have no more than one FT3 player on the field at any one time.

Disability Soccer Resources :

U.S. Men’s 7-a-side Paralympic National Team

Amputee Soccer

Cerebral Palsy Soccer

Blind & Partially-Sighted Soccer

Power Soccer

Special Olympics Soccer

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