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How Hervey Bay's first disability Futsal team were created

Having a disability often presents many barriers to enjoying the basics of everyday life. Whether the boundaries challenge an individually physically or mentally, the disabled population are often required to adapt to ‘fit in’, rather than be automatically integrated.

In Hervey Bay, a new all-abilities Futsal team allows local disabled players to enjoy the thrill of competitive sport, with no boundaries.

Kathy and Kevin Schofield, mother and father of successful Australian youth international, Harry Schofield, helped set up the side earlier this year after befriending a matchday volunteer for their son’s outdoor soccer team. Within a few weeks, Jimmy went from providing first aid treatment and filling up water bottles for the outdoor team to becoming player-manager of his very own all-abilities Futsal team.

Jimmy first burst onto the Hervey Bay futsal scene as a regular substitute for some existing established mixed teams, before recruiting his own friends to create Hervey Bay’s first ever all-abilities Futsal team. In just one week, Jimmy created a team, gathered players, completed a full registration and played in a competitive Winter season fixture against an able-bodied mixed team.

The team are now registered to compete in Hervey Bay’s upcoming Summer Season and Kevin Schofield wants to encourage more all-abilities teams to come forward and compete:

“For the all-abilities here in Hervey Bay we would like to get more teams to maybe start up their own competition. I think once people see the benefit of it and the goodness it does for them, people will want to come along. So yeah, the main goal is to get an all-abilities comp going on here in Hervey Bay.

“It’s a level of play that could be easily introduced into any centre. There’s nothing extra that you have to do for them, a lot of them do bring along a carer or a parent. It would be good to see a ripple effect with other people getting people interested in it.

“As we found out with our Jimmy, we had the contacts and was able to put a team together within a week, which was pretty astounding actually.”

Kevin also spoke of the positive impact an involvement in Futsal can have on the all-ability players:

“The physical benefits are obviously there but the emotional benefits for them to be involved in something like this are great.

“It’s good to see them having a good time and walking away themselves thinking they’ve played a good game.

“To see the looks on their faces, the way they’re enjoying it, it is pretty good for the heart, I think.”

Kathy Schofield, who is Hervey Bay Futsal’s night manager, also added:

“Jimmy is so proud of himself too. He couldn’t get down to play this week, so he was going to take them (the team) out to another venue to train!

“I have a disability; I think it’s brave of them to be out there doing that and I would seriously love to do it myself. If I wasn’t sitting behind the desk, I reckon Jimmy would say ‘out’ and get me on the court.”

If you know anyone who would like to get involved with all-abilities futsal in any capacity, please contact Hervey Bay Futsal on Facebook.

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