Soccability Canada was incorporated as a not for profit in November 2020. A volunteer board oversees the governance, projects and planning of the organization. This is a passion project that keeps us busy outside of our paid jobs.
Our objective is to grow accessible soccer programs by filling the gap where support and guidance for soccer organizations is often lacking. We actively seek out (and are open to) opportunities to collaborate with mutually beneficial goals.
To ensure any person with a disability has an opportunity to play, coach, officiate or participate in soccer in their community, with a pathway for further opportunities in the game.
Soccability Canada is about soccer and the culture shift towards a barrier-free soccer landscape for anyone with a disability. Established to support the myriad of accessible soccer programs run in Canadian communities and to grow many more, we are building a single platform to expand the opportunities for players, coaches, match officials and leaders. We are here to ‘Grow The Game For All’.
Lead for the program is Matt Greenwood who has worked as the Executive Director of the Pickering Football Club since October 2016. He has the chance to see on a daily basis the important role and inherent challenges that grassroots, community clubs have when delivering quality, affordable programs. When it comes to inclusive and accessible programs these can be met with more hurdles because club leaders are fearful of cost, liability or the added duty of care. When done properly the impact these programs have can be striking and no better example of this can be found than the All Abilities program at Pickering FC. Established in 2008 it was developed through key strategic funding, academic partners and the passion of a former Board Member. The program has evolved considerably and continues to inspire and inform.
During almost a decade covering a variety of roles with Ontario Soccer Matt found most success in the role of Club Development Manager. While acquiring almost $1.5m in grant funding for projects addressing New Canadians, disability, concussions and risk management his main legacy was the creation of the Club Excellence Award. Building on the Charter Standard program from the U.K. the Club Excellence Award was adopted by over 70 of Ontario’s youth soccer clubs and ran from 2007-2019. During this program delivery much was learned about the needs and dynamics of Canadian soccer clubs and the best way to assess them with a strong focus on collaboration and engagement. Canada Soccer took this model and rolled out the National Youth License in 2018. The Canada Soccer National Youth License Award has a specific accessibility and inclusion component to its criteria.
From an accessible soccer perspective the number of clubs offering programs in Ontario grew from 5 to 19, however staff changes and the pandemic meant it has fallen out of focus.
A renewed focus post-pandemic has seen accessible soccer now included in the current Ontario Soccer 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.
During Matt’s spare time he is a dedicated coach and committed advocate for the growth of inclusive and accessible soccer programs across Ontario and Canada in any form including as coach of the Pickering FC Blind Soccer team
‘During every session and interaction we learn a little more to grow our expertise in disability football in an effort to expedite the roll-out of accessible soccer programs and ensure a program exists in every club. This will be a true reflection of the communities in which we live and we’re happy to share that insight here’.