Work begins on soccer field installation at Kansas State School of the Blind

Screenshot 2023 09 14 At 65332 Pm

Blind soccer field construction underway at KSSB. // Courtesy of KSSB

Kansas City Blind All-Stars (KCBAS) recently received funding from The Victory Project to install a blind soccer field on the Kansas State School of the Blind (KSSB) campus this fall.

Blind soccer, also known as 5-a-side soccer is an adaptation of soccer for those who are blind or visually impaired. The game consists of two teams of five: one goalie and four outfield players.

During the game, all players must wear occluder masks to ensure fairness.

There are a few distinct differences when it comes to blind soccer. One is the length of the soccer field. In blind soccer, the field is much smaller than a field for sighted players. It measures 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. The ball is adapted to better suit the players’ needs. A sound device is located on the inside of the ball so that players can hear where the ball is, even while in the air. The field’s perimeter is covered by sidewalls, so the ball never goes out of play. Coaches are also on each end of the field to help players orient themselves during the game. 

KSSB superintendent Jon Harding is glad that students finally have a field of their own. “It’s all about creating a safe space for students, where we can coach and guide them,” says Harding.

The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is assisting KSSB with setting up the on-campus field and plans to host blind soccer camps to help train and hopefully recruit athletes for the US blind soccer team. 

“It’s something new, it’s exciting, we want other blind schools to start their own teams,” says Harding.

In addition to their on-campus field, KSSB also plans to take blind soccer equipment on the road as a part of their mobile sports initiative. Their orientation mobility specialist, Leah Enright, and P.E. teacher, Nicole Drake, will host demonstrations and workshops with physical education teachers and college athletes to educate them on ways to make sports more inclusive and accessible.  “A lot of what we do is try to raise awareness to the sighted world, to help them be more sensitive to how difficult it can be,” says Harding. 

Construction for the field is currently underway. Sidewalls for the field arrived a few days ago, goals have been purchased, and grass for the pitch is being reseeded.

KSSB expects to begin using the pitch in the spring of 2024.

Categories: Culture, Sports