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March 27, 2007 > Power Soccer, the road to Japan

Power Soccer, the road to Japan

By Biff Jones

It's called "Power Soccer" and it's an exciting version of the international game, adapted for disabled persons, playing on smooth surfaces, in powered wheelchairs. You can catch an exhibition match this Saturday, March 31 at Newark's George M. Silliman Center courts.

The match will culminate three days of training for the first ever world games. The International Power Football World Cup will be held in Tokyo, Japan, October 8-13. Teams from around the world, so far including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Korea, Portugal, and Turkey will join Team USA and Japan in this fast-paced sport similar to indoor soccer.

Players maneuver their electric-powered wheelchairs on a regulation basketball court or outdoor parking lot, chasing an oversized soccer ball across the opposing team's goal line. The wheelchairs have foot guards temporarily attached to help in controlling the ball and prevent damage to the wheelchairs. The players then use the foot guards to strike the ball towards the goal line or pass it to a teammate. There are four players on a side, including the goalkeeper, with eight players on a team (four substitutes).

Our U. S. National Team will be in a training camp at Silliman Center, 6800 Mowry Ave., Newark. They will be playing exhibition games in the gymnasium open to the public on Saturday from 1- 4 p.m.

Team USA is led by Head Coach Chris Finn of San Leandro and is composed of twelve members, four of which will become alternates before they depart for Japan in October. The twelve range in age from 16 to 55; five hail from Northern California. There are six high school students and four college graduates among the eight men and four women comprising the team.

Team members and their home towns are Michael Archer of Greenwood, Ind.; Jerry Book of San Jose; Danny Gorman, Safety Harbor, Fla.; Jessica Lehman, Emeryville; Ed McGuire, Mesa, Ariz.; Elio Navarro, Tampa, Fla.; Corbett O'Toole, Berkeley; Natalie and JC Russo, Carmel, Ind.; Dakotah Smith, Kennesaw, Ga.; plus Jairo and Omar Solorio, Hollister, Ca.

The team is still looking for sponsors as each athlete must cover his or her own expenses plus those of a full-time attendant.

For more information on tax deductible donations, please visit www.powersoccerteamusa.org.

Team USA Power Soccer exhibition
Saturday, March 31; 1 - 4 p.m.
Silliman Community Center
6800 Mowry Ave., Newark

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