Blind soccer, also known as 5-a-side soccer or football 5-a-side, is an adaptation of soccer for athletes with a visual impairment. The sport has been governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) since 1996 and is played with modified FIFA rules.
Blind soccer debuted at the Paralympic Games for the first time at the Athens 2004 Paralympics and has been contested at every Games since. Brazil has won gold at every Paralympics. World Championships take place every four years in between the Paralympics.
Blind soccer teams are made up of four outfield players and one goalkeeper. Outfield players must be classified as completely blind (B1 category), which means they have very low visual acuity and/or no light perception, whilst the goalkeeper must be sighted or partially sighted (B2 or B3 category).
To ensure fair competition, all outfield players must wear eyeshades. Teams can also have off-field guides to assist them. The ball makes a noise due to a sound system located inside that helps players orient themselves. Spectators must remain silent while watching the game until a goal is scored.
Blind soccer is played on a rectangular field that measures 40m long and 20m wide. The whole length of the pitch is covered by kickboards to prevent the ball from going out of play.
The duration of the match is 50 minutes, divided into two 25-minute halves. Each team can request a one-minute timeout during each half. During the last two minutes of both halves, and in case of an extra time, the timekeeper must stop the clock for a free kick, kick-in, goal kick and corner kick.
The U.S. does not currently support a national blind soccer team but hopes to as we get closer to the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games.
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