Toronto 2015 preview: Football 5-a-side

Paralympic and world champions Brazil will start as strong favourites during the seven day competition. 06 Aug 2015
Silvio Velo

Silvio Velo at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

ⒸGetty Images

Competition dates: 8-14 August

Venue: Pan Am/Parapan Am Fields

Teams: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay

Medal events: 1

Tickets: Adults CAD 25 / U16 & 64+ CAD 15

Buy football 5-a-side tickets at Ticketmaster.


Defending champions Brazil are the world’s best team having won gold at the last three Paralympic Games. The side also won their fourth world title in 2014 with victory over Argentina, who themselves are football-5 powerhouses. Argentina won gold at May’s IBSA World Games in Seoul, South Korea, and were crowned world champions in 2002 and 2004.

Three players to look out for:

Jeffinho (Brazil)

Jefferson da Conceicao Goncalves or “Jefinho” is the world’s best football 5-a-side player. Nicknamed the “Paralympic Pele”, he helped Brazil win gold at London 2012 and the 2014 World Championships in Brazil.

Silvio Velo (Argentina)

If Argentina are to upset the odds and beat Brazil to gold, then Velo will have to be on top form. Due to his silky skills on the pitch, Argentine media have likened him to a blind Lionel Messi.

Ricardo Alves (Brazil)

Despite the presence of Jefinho, Ricardo was Brazil’s best player at the 2014 World Championships. He picked up the golden shoe for being the tournament’s top scorer and was chosen as the Most Valuable Player.

The sport

Similar in play to football (soccer), the football 5-a-side field is smaller, surrounded by a rebound wall and is played by athletes with a visual impairment.

The objective is to kick the ball—outfitted with a noise-making device—down the field into the opposing team’s goal. The four on-field athletes wear eyeshades to ensure fairness. The goalkeeper, however, may be fully or partially sighted.

Matches are made up of two 25-minutes halves, with a 10-minute break between halves.

The venue

Grass playing fields at the University of Toronto have been transformed into two world-class hockey pitches ready to host football 5 and football 7-a-side competition.

Located at the university’s St. George Campus, the fields will be Ontario’s first international-calibre field hockey venue and will double the number of fields available for the sport in the Greater Toronto Area.

The facility is also expected to be the highest quality two-turf facility in Canada, according to Field Hockey Canada.

As a post-Games legacy, the fields will host a number of different sports at the University of Toronto, adding to existing sports facilities and greatly extending the intramural and recreational playing season on campus for students and community members.

Gates open two hours before competition.

A spectator map can be found in this document.