David Ruelas of the Fernando Foundation, a non-profit based in Duluth, Georgia, is committed to the growth of power chair soccer in the U.S. and abroad. The foundation began locally with the creation of the Atlanta Synergy power soccer team. Ruelas, along with Coach Brandon Garcia and local volunteers from area high school soccer teams, unite to provide support and training for their players.
Power soccer is the fastest growing sport for individuals in powered wheelchairs with disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and many others. Power soccer is played like 4v4 indoor soccer, but in this case the ball is 13 inches in diameter and the players attack, defend and kick while seated in their powered wheelchairs.
Like all sports, power soccer has a great deal of benefits for the players. It boosts confidence, but it also has therapeutic benefits such as gaining special awareness and maneuverability in their chairs. Not only do the players improve their skills, but the coaches and volunteers learn patience while giving back to their community.
There are currently 60 teams across the country registered with the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA). For more information, visit http://www.powersoccerusa.net.