Soccer fans swarmed St. Petersburg Wednesday evening for one of the last home games of the season, ready to see the Rowdies take on New York.
- Rowdies give shout out to Tampa Thunder Power Soccer team at game
- Power Soccer played by those with disabilities in a wheelchair
- Players use wheelchair to attack, defend, & spin-kick ball to score goals
- Click here for more info on the Tampa Thunder Power Soccer team
But right outside the gate sat a second group of talented athletes with a winning record that rivals the Rowdies--the Tampa Thunder Power Soccer team.
Power Soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users.
The players include people with quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, head trauma, stroke, spinal cord injury and other disabilities.
Power Soccer combines the skill of the wheelchair user with the speed and power of the chair itself, to participate in an extremely challenging game similar to soccer.
"We’re really competitive, we’re just like any other athletes… like the Rowdies… we’re no different than them," player Ryan Coton said.
The game is played with four players on the court, and each player in a wheelchair equipped with a cage on the front to hit the ball.
Two teams of four power chair users attack, defend, and spin-kick a 13-inch soccer ball in an attempt to score goals.
"Anyone who’s able bodied who plays a sport, they’re not just playing for fun… they’re playing to win," player Danny Gorman added.
Power Soccer is a very active and growing sport, both nationally and internationally.
Tampa Thunder has a rigid practice schedule and more than 90 plays memorized. For this team, it's all about strategy and teamwork as they travel the country all season long.
"It just gives us the opportunity to be like everybody else, to do what everybody else can do," Coton said.
Their dedication caught the attention of the Rowdies on Wednesday, who gave a shout out to Tampa Thunder during the game.