The US Association of Blind Athletes has teamed up with City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department to launch blind soccer clinics around Los Angeles in October and November for youth players.
The clinics are free and designed specifically for young players of all skill levels who are blind or visually impaired. The age groups for the camps will be 5-11 years of age and 12-17. The clinics will take place Oct. 8, Oct. 15, Oct. 22 and Nov. 12, at the Algin Sutton Recreation Center in Los Angeles and the Hubert H. Humphrey Recreation Center in Pacoima.
The initiatives surrounding blind soccer come about due to two factors: Los Angeles will be hosting both the 2028 Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympicsand the United States has never fielded a blind national soccer team, but is looking to fully launch the program this month, to prepare for the 2028 Games.
“At USABA, we are excited for the road to LA28,” said USABA CEO Molly Quinn in a release on the camps. “It will have been over 32 years since the United States has hosted a Summer Games and it will be the first time for Team USA to field a blind soccer team at the Paralympic Games. It is our aspiration, through continued partnership and engagement with LA RAP and through these programming opportunities, to provide access to sport and recreational opportunities for blind and visually impaired youth and possibly identify a future LA28 Team USA player.”
Blind soccer is generally played much like sighted soccer, aside from a few key distinctions. The ball makes noise as it moves, all outfield players must wear blindfolds, and players are supposed to verbally indicate when they are making a play for the ball. A sighted guide also assists outside the field of play to help direct players. It is a contact sport, naturally, but the for those interesting in getting a youngster involved in the sport or more deeply involved, the upcoming camps are meant to help kids learn the rules of blind soccer, learn drills, communicate on the field and play some games, not to mention to have fun along the way.
“We are sincerely grateful to USABA for its support with the PlayLA blind soccer clinics. It is very exciting to introduce a new sport, in this case a Paralympic sport, to a new generation of youth in our city. Through the Department of Recreation and Parks, PlayLA will continue to remove barriers to participation and providing equitable programming for an underserved community,” City of LA Department of Recreation and Parks General Manager Jimmy Kim said.
If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming blind soccer youth clinics or know someone who would, you can find more information on this flyer as well as on the PlayLA Adaptive Sports website.
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