All Abilities Football

St Ives Football Club is proud to support and provide opportunities to our football family for individuals of all abilities to promote inclusion, diversity and collaboration. Our All Abilities programs form the main part of our inclusive profile which are Club run all ability programs.

Our programs consist of non-competitive weekly seasons held on Saturdays. (Gala days are held on the Last Sunday of most months outside the Northern Suburbs). The programs are intended to provide an opportunity to participate in sport, share social experiences and ultimately build confidence.

We have had a All Abilities Football program running since 2004. Founded by David Howard (a past President of the club) we consider this a very important program that extends the opportunity to engage in football to the Special Needs community.

The program is aimed at those children with intellectual disabilities with autistic spectrum disorder and down syndrome and provides a supported and fun environment in which the children can participate.

A set of rules has been developed to provide one-on-one guidance to the participants as they play. Each player will be allowed to have a chaperone on the field to assist and direct the player. It is hoped that once familiar with the play the player will become less dependent on the chaperone until able to play independently.

Games are played on Saturday afternoons between 1pm and 2pm at Toolang Oval, St Ives. For 2023 the season starts on Saturday 1st April and runs through until Saturday 26th August.

Cost of participation is $TBA which is set to cover overheads only. 

We are more than happy for your child to come along and try an afternoon before committing to the whole season.

If you would like to register to play please do so at our website (Please choose “All Abilities” as the age group.)

More information can be found by clicking the icon to the right   ….    

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the All Abilities Co-Ordinator at  or our President at 

We look forward to seeing you on the playing field !

Registration for All abilitiess can occur at any time as there are no formal team structures. Although some conditions do not pre-dispose players to greater risk of physical harm than mainstream players, certain conditions may present physical issues eg down syndrome can be associated with skeletal problems.

As it is not possible for the club to diagnose a child’s individual condition, parents confirm that they know of no medical issues at the time of registration.


o          Players shall be children with autism spectrum disorder or down syndrome disability aged between 4 years six months and 20
o          Players require parental/guardian approval and when registering the parent/guardian confirms there is no medical conditions that would prevent the child playing.
o          Parents/guardians are required to confirm that they know of no physical condition that would prevent the child playing as well as undertaking to inform the club should they become aware of such condition. 

Rules and Codes of Conduct for Special Needs Football

The Outreach football program is designed to have children enjoy themselves, participate and enjoy the benefits of participating in a team sport environment. The program will parallel or simulate a match played between two junior teams.  Following are rules specific for outreach football. Where these rules are silent, the approved Nortern Suburbs Football Association (NSFA) rules for U6 and U7 teams shall apply.  


Player:  a child participating in the program  

Chaperone:  a person who shall accompany a player whilst on the field to assist and support the child.  

Coach:   a person on the field supervising the match holding either 

A)    Level 1 qualified soccer coach or appropriate higher qualification or
B)    Australian Sports Commission Disability Education Program “Inclusive Coaching” or higher qualification 

Program Coordinator: a person at the ground observing and overseeing coaches at the grounds holding both 

A)    level 1 qualified soccer coach or appropriate higher qualification or
B)    Australian Sports Commission Disability Education Program “Inclusive Coaching” or higher qualification 

Codes of Conduct


o          Processes shall be in place to ensure that each match is assigned a Program Coordinator
o          Grounds are to be checked prior to commencement of any game  

Safety Gear/Uniforms 

o          All Players are requried to wear shinpads
o          All players will be encouraged to wear a full team kit or other uniform to identify teams


o          Each player will be allowed a maximum of one chaperone on the field at any one time
o          Chaperones are to passively participate. In particular they are not to impede or hinder other players 


o          At least one parent/guardian must be at the ground with the child. This may be either as a spectator or chaperone.
o          All spectators are to adhere to the NSFA code of conduct
o          Must not intrude on the field except at the direction of the referee or coach. 

Game Day Rules

Duration of Sessions/games 

o          Two twenty minute halves with 5 minutes break. 

Number of Players 

o          Team size may vary
o          A maximum of 6 players allowed on the field at one time
o          There is no limit on the number of reserves or how often replacements may take the field 


o          Players should be directed from the field if aggression is displayed, no other penalties will be attached to a players action
o          Chaperones may incur penalties for breaching guidelines, in keeping with the spirit of fun these can include such things as bringing oranges next week, washing team uniforms etc 


o          Similar to U6-U7 junior soccer except a chaperone will be allowed on the field.
o          A chaperone may lead, instruct or otherwise encourage the player they are chaperoning
o          A chaperone must not impede or hinder other players from taking or retaining possession of the ball 
o          A chaperone will be allowed to stop the ball but not propel the ball.
o          The chaperone may only stop the ball when within contact of their player eg holding hands.
o          The chaperone may not stop the ball in the goal area particularly they must not act to prevent a goal.
o          The coach may at their discretion direct a throw-in to a particular player (eg one who has had little contact with the ball).
o          The coach may, at their discretion, ask other players and chaperones to “hold back” whilst an individual player is given the opportunity to make contact with the ball.
o          The coach may, at their discretion, halt play to give instruction, guidance or assistance to any player.
o          The coach may call “play on” at any time even though the preceding action was not in keeping with the current U6-U7 rules. In particular, this will be encouraged where a throw-in or place kick hasn’t precisely met requirements.
o          Throw-ins can be taken by chaperones.
o          No heading of the ball 

Limiting Players of Greater Ability  

Where a player displays a dominance of the game to the extent that it prevents others making contact with the ball that player may be limited at the discretion of the coach. Limiting can take the form of 

o         Allowing the coach or other suitable adult to propel the ball away from the player or the goal
o         Limiting the player to one half of the field for a given period
o         Other suitable actions as determined by the coach/referee.