BAYSWATER City Soccer Club is aiming to make the game “accessible for all”, starting with the launch of its first Powerchair football team.
Powerchair football is a modified version of football for electric wheelchair users played between teams of four in a gymnasium.
The sport originated in France in the 1970s.
The club has four players who will be playing in the WA Powerchair Premier League season, which starts in February.
It joins Floreat Athena in the competition.
Vice-president Oriano Colli said it was a fantastic opportunity for the club to form a partnership with the WA Powerchair Association and help progress the format in WA.
“Being involved in powerchair football represents our club’s ambition to ensure the beautiful game is accessible to all,” he said.
“This initiative, along with some other great initiatives that our club will be launching soon, will look to complete the club’s vision to have a pathway at Bayswater for all willing participants.”
Mr Colli said powerchair football was an expensive sport largely funded by participants, sponsors and grants.
“These specialised chairs can cost from $15,000 to $25,000, so it is vitally important that we as a community do our very best to get behind these fantastic initiatives.”
WA Powerchair Football Association head coach Justin Lattaway said the association was excited to have one of the top National Premier Leagues WA clubs get involved.
“This partnership aligns with our aim of becoming a more professional sports organisation, as well as increasing our community involvement and awareness,” he said.
“We are really hoping to add to that already existing rivalry between the two clubs (City and Athena), which will increase the competitiveness and standards of our competition as a whole.
“Currently we only have eight players involved, which is enough for the two teams but with no substitutes. We want to build that up to have substitutes and even to introduce a third team.”
Lattaway said the sport was growing in WA, with athletes competing in the national competition and a club championship in Sydney.
“Our WA star player in Rebecca Evans recently represented the Australian under-21s Poweroos side in the Asia Pacific Oceania Cup,” he said.
He said the association was in the process of applying for grants to get club ‘Strikeforce’ chairs, which could pass, shoot and spin kick the oversized ball.
“This will allow new recruits to jump in and experience the adrenalin pumping sport of powerchair football,” he said.
City will play Athena in the season opener on February 23 at Loftus Recreation Centre, Leederville.