ATLANTA – Athletes from The United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA – www.powersoccerusa.net) showed off their skills during two exhibition games on day three of Medtrade. The game took place on the Expo Floor at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Power Soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users. Athletes’ disabilities include quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and many others. The game is usually played in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court. Two teams of four players attack, defend, and spin-kick a 13-inch soccer ball in a skilled and challenging game similar to able-bodied soccer.
MK Battery is the USPSA title sponsor, which helps defray some of the considerable expense associated with the sport. “The biggest challenge is the cost of travel,” says Dominic Russo, president of the USPSA, who also served as a referee during the Medtrade exhibition game.
According to Wayne Merdinger, executive vice president and general manager of MK Battery, the sponsorship arrangement is much more than a financial or business arrangement, and amounts to a “significant emotional commitment that our entire company has embraced.”
In 2006, seven countries came together to hold a summit in Atlanta, Ga, and the result was a standardization of the laws, and the forming of an International Federation. From that meeting, the first World Cup was held in Tokyo, Japan, and the first US National Team competition was formed. The growth and development of the sport has been tremendous, hampered only by time and funding.
Rules and strategy are similar to the outdoor game. “The United States team has dominated international competition,” says Russo. “We will try for our third world cup next year in Australia or Canada.”
“These players are incredibly skilled,” adds Kevin Gaffney, group show director, Medtrade. “It was our pleasure to make room for the game on the Expo floor and show attendees what this growing game is all about.”