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Power Soccer: A Brand New Sport

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By Megan Costanzo

Have you heard of Power Soccer? Power Soccer is a sport played by anyone who  uses a wheelchair. This article will help you learn more about the beginning of Power Soccer, how it is played and how you can get involved or support a team.

Power soccer is an activity for people with disabilities. The rules are similar to outdoor soccer with a few modifications. Power soccer is played in a gymnasium on a basketball court. The players are in power wheelchairs. Each wheelchair is equipped with a guard.  The guard is a rectangular metal piece of equipment mounted on the front of the chair. It allows maneuvers  to kick the ball, and it also protects your feet. According to the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA) website, powersoccerusa.org, games have two teams of four players.   A team has three forwards, and one goalie. The matches consist of  2 halves that are 20 minutes. Clubs around the country have practices weekly or monthly to hone  up their skills as they try to trick their opponents. One rule of the sport is you are allowed to have two players in the box at a time when defending the net. The most debatable rule is the “two on one” law. A third defender can’t have a wheel in the box since the team trying to score would be given  a free kick. 

According to the USPSA website, during the 1970’s, an unique form of football suited for people who used powered wheelchairs was created in France. In 1988, power soccer was  brought  to the USA by a disabled sports program founded by university students in Berkeley, California. In January 2005, representatives  worldwide laid the groundwork for the formation of the International Powerchair Football Association (IPFA). In 2006, the United States Power Soccer Association, (USPSA) was born. The standardized Laws of the Game were adopted, and the new name of the international governing body became the Federation International Powerchair Football Association (FIPFA). Today, there are more than 250 teams competing worldwide. There are hopes that power soccer will be allowed for the first time in the 2024 Paralympic games in Paris. 

The United States  has a  national team known as Team USA, and is a member of the United States Power Soccer Association. The national team plays in the Power Soccer World Cup. Current member of the US national team, Nathan Mayer, explains what Power Soccer means to him.

“This journey means a lot as it is more than just his journey, but it is the people around him that he is representing that means so much to Nathan. Wearing the colors means it’s bigger than just yourself; you’re representing everything around you and what they represent as well! Family, God, 

sports/life!”

  According  to  Team USA  sources, on October 8, 2007, the team earned a landmark victory by winning the first ever World Cup competition in Tokyo, Japan. There have been three World Cups so far, and the USA has won two, and was the runner-up in 2017. Due to the  Covid-19 pandemic, FIPFA has announced that the next World Cup originally scheduled to be held in Sydney, Australia in October 2021, will be delayed one year. 

I first played Power Soccer in 2016 and our team was the SLO Dragons. Someone told us, “don’t go slow, just because you’re the “SLO” Dragons!”  We practiced once a week to prepare ourselves for the “Katheryn  Black Invitational” tournament in May 2019, and we had a lot of fun! Most of our team could not travel, so it was just one teammate and I who participated. We were able to get other players to help out to form a team. We kept each other going by cheering  throughout the game. We had a chance to compete for second and third place. It was so much fun, and I met so many new friends. This was such an amazing experience, and a really cool tournament. I would really like  to make another team one day. 

Power soccer games can be found in communities around the world. You can find a game around your area if you look hard enough. If you do not find one locally, then that’s ok, just search power soccer teams that are looking for people to watch a game or even play.  

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