November 9, 2018

My Beginnings: Being a New Power Soccer Player

Adam Shapiro

My power soccer journey started a little over a year ago. I originally heard about it when I was on a first date. She continued telling me all about it and I was getting super excited since I used to play soccer before I went into a wheelchair twenty-two years ago. She explained me the team she played for and it was near where I lived, so I told her I would check out the next practice.

I got in the car and headed to the practice. I was really nervous since I had no idea what to expect. As I entered the basketball court, I was struck at how the players were hitting the ball off these square metal contraptions called guards. Then I was greeted by a woman with a big happy smile saying, “welcome!” She attached a hard plastic guard to my chair and I was on my way to practice with the team. I fell in love! My power soccer “career” had begun, but had no idea.

The year 2017 was an adventure of traveling to different cities to play tournaments. I was extremely nervous for my first game. Before the game started, both teams had to line up and perform a speed test, which I had no clue what that was. I saw players ahead of me go full speed across the court, while 2 referees on each side timed how fast it took each player to cross the other end of the court. If you were too fast (under a certain time) two times in a row, you couldn’t play in that game. I was like “wow they take this game really seriously!” I passed the test with flying colors! I was so relieved because there was a small thought in my head that maybe I wouldn’t pass and thus not be able to play. I really enjoyed my first game! It was so much fun!

The next six months I learned the game to the best of my ability by reading the rules book and going to team practice and giving 100%. I was fortunate to be able to get my Strikeforce chair that same year. My teammate and his dad found a used one for a reasonable price and my coach told me to “jump” on it because opportunities don’t come around like this very often. I decided to get it. When I first got in the chair, it was so jumpy that I could barely control it. It was difficult at first to get used to it, however, now I’m fully adjusted to it.

I was inspired two months ago to create a power soccer Facebook group and have gotten a huge positive feedback on it. Currently, there are 200 members and growing. It’s officially called “Power Soccer World”. I have met so many great people on there from all over the world. I created the page so we can all connect to each other, ask questions, support and motivate each other. For example, I had an issue with myself sliding down in my Strikeforce chair every time I would do a 180 or 360 spin kick. I posted on the page about my issue and got a wealth of responses and suggestions from people. I finally figured out what I needed to do from someone who suggested moving the seatbelt further forward on the bolt. This gentleman who suggested this said it will keep my hips from sliding down. Sure enough, it worked!

Lastly, I will add that I switched teams this year and it has made my power soccer journey even better! I’m super excited for this coming season. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and going to nationals!

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