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University of Tsukuba Total Football Project (Soccer Interleague Games)

University of Tsukuba Total Football Project (Soccer Interleague Games)

(2009.08.29)

 

Soccer interleague games‚ "Total Football Project"‚ were held at a futsal ground in Shinagawa on August 29. The games included the University of Tsukuba Soccer Club‚ the soccer team of Senior High School at Komaba‚ and the Red Rockets soccer team of the University of Tsukuba's Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired.

On March 15‚ 2009‚ a soccer interleague game between the University of Tsukuba Soccer Club and the Red Rockets was held at the ground of Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired at the University of Tsukuba. The August 29th game was a continuation of these soccer interleague games.

This project was initiated by Takeshi Asai‚ Tomoharu Yoko‚ and Shiyoshi Iwasaki. Mr. Asai is General Manager of the University of Tsukuba Soccer Club and also serves at the Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences at the University of Tsukuba‚ Mr. Yoko is a teacher at the Komaba Junior and Senior High School of the University of Tsukuba‚ and Mr. Iwasaki is an advisor at the University of Tsukuba's Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired.

A total of 50 players from three teams attended the game. They were divided into nine teams and experienced a "B1" class soccer game. A "B1" class game is played by totally blind players where players chase and pass the ball by utilizing sounds. They shoot with the assistance of a "caller" who calls instructions to the players while standing behind the goal.

It was a new experience for almost all the players. After the players introduced themselves‚ they made a circle and passed a ball calling each other's name. What the players experienced were:
- Even if they kicked a ball in the right direction‚ the ball landed in a slightly different place than intended.
- They failed to catch a ball due to slow reactions.
- They were not able to follow a quick pass.
- Even they touched the ball‚ they couldn't control it.
- They were not able to locate the ball even when it was in front of them.
The players realized how heavily they rely on vision when they play soccer.

Initially they didn't know how to play game in this situation. Gradually they came to understand and started calling each other's name in a loud voice. A big round of applause broke out for successful passes and a deep sigh for unsuccessful passes. After learning the importance of communication‚ accurate passing‚ and changing the pass speed depending on the team member‚ they successfully completed five or six consecutive passes.

This was followed by practice on penalty kicks‚ dribbling‚ and shooting. Thereafter‚ a mini game between the visually impaired team and visually unimpaired team was conducted. The visually unimpaired team played without eye masks during the game. After this‚ soccer games between the teams made up of one or two physically unimpaired with eye masks and visually impaired students were played. Players were able to connect on short passes‚ but they experienced difficulties such as running in the opposite direction‚ missing a pass from a blind player‚ and losing the ball to the other team on the spacious futsal ground.

After this was a futsal game between the Komaba High School team and the University of Tsukuba Soccer Club. Finally‚ a futsal mini game was played between the Red Rockets and a combined team of the University of Tsukuba Soccer Club and the Komaba High School team. In the game‚ B2 and B3 category rules were played by amblyopic students‚ which are similar to those of futsal. In this mini game the players transformed into the players who moved at full speed as if they were set free.

After the soccer interleague games‚ Mr. Masami Kobayashi‚ the coach of the Red Rockets‚ gave a talk based on his experience as former J-Leager. His talk included the importance of accurate passing and mutual support in both blind soccer and normal soccer.

An exchange meeting was held over dinner at the meeting room‚ with topics including soccer and favorite songs. All the participants were able to spend a refreshing time while chasing a ball regardless of age‚ soccer experience‚ and visual conditions. Mr. Koichi Sasaki‚ a hand soccer coach of the University of Tsukuba's Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged‚ also participated and supported the project. The University of Tsukuba would like to further promote soccer game exchanges.

Shoot directed by the caller behind the goal
Shoot directed by the caller behind the goal
Passing practice
Passing practice
Ceremonial photograph
Ceremonial photograph

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