With funding from a Sask Lotteries Adaptive Sport Grant administered through Sask Sport, the Saskatchewan Soccer Association is hosting a free powerchair soccer event in Saskatoon on Mar. 12 from 9 – 11 a.m.
“We’ve been watching for quite some time and we were lucky enough to be awarded grant funding to help us purchase the equipment so we can do these types of events,” said Eden Senger, Saskatchewan Soccer Association Manager of Member Services.
The “try-it” powerchair event will be free to attend with all soccer equipment provided. Participants need to be five years or older and able to operate their own powerchair. The event will be held in conjunction with the provincial soccer championships, held on the same weekend at the Saskatoon Soccer Centre.
“It’s going to be a soccer-for-everyone weekend,” said Senger. “We really try to ensure that each of our events have an aspect that everybody can take part in.”
Powerchair soccer is played on an indoor soccer pitch with a ball three-times the size of a normal soccer ball. Participants manoeuvre their powerchair around the pitch, passing and shooting the ball with the attached bumpers, which will be attached at the time of the event with help from the Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association.
“With this one being our first one, Wheelchair Sask was amazing, helping us with the rules, helping us with the fittings for the chairs and they’re going to be helping us do some registration,” said Senger.
And the Saskatchewan Soccer Association hopes this event will kickstart a strong future for powerchair soccer in the province. In fact, Senger hopes powerchair soccer will be a staple at future provincial championships.
“Right now, it’s a showcase but long-term we want to be able to host a provincial championship for powerchair teams,” said Senger. “It’s building the framework for us to have accessible programming within our organization.”
And with the event being free of charge thanks to the grand funding, the association is ensuring it’s accessible.
“We are removing a barrier for non-profits and making it easier to expand into those activities,” said Senger. “I don’t think we would have been able to without (grant funding).”
Senger also encourages other sport organizations to look into bringing adaptive programming to their events by accessing the funding.
“People should take a look the adaptive sport grant because it’s very easy for you to apply and the funding is out there,” she said.
“If you haven’t had a chance to really access that funding, take a look at it.”
More information or to register for the Powerchair event