January 19, 2018

What is Power Soccer and Some Unique Rules?

Michael L. Sack

When power soccer was invented decades ago, it was just students with disabilities controlling a basketball trying to guide it between two markers. Nearly fifty years later, power soccer has changed so drastically that the USPSA hosted their first FIPFA World Cup, with the latest being the third overall. Right about now you may be asking what is this sport all about?

Power soccer, in my opinion, is the most enjoyable sport for people with disabilities due to the fact that athletes only have to worry about how they control their chairs. Power soccer is an activity for people who have physical disabilities, like cerebral palsy or Muscular Dystrophy. The athletes just can play the sport without worrying about if they will be able to partake or not.

This ever-growing sport nowadays has some rules similar and unique to traditional soccer. Power soccer games have two teams of three forwards and one goalie trying to maneuver, pass, and shoot a 13-inch ball in between two posts using their guard. The matches consist of 2 halves that are 20-minutes in the regular season, in which teams must play at least 12 games to qualify for nationals. If matches are even at the end of regulation during bracket play, teams play on. Clubs around the country have practices weekly or monthly to hone up their skills as they create plays to try to trick their opponents.

Don’t think power soccer can slip by without controversy! There are two major rules that differ from able-body soccer. For one, only two defenders can be in the box at one time when defending the net. Presumably to give the offense more space to score. Otherwise, it would be very crowded in a small space! A third defender can’t have a wheel in the box since the team trying to score would be granted a free kick.

The second rule, and arguably the most debatable, is the two-on-one law of the game. Only one defender can be within three meters of the ball handler at all times. If a team has two defenders to close, the team attacking gets a free kick. Historically, this is the most scrutinize rule by coaches and players. Part of the scrutiny involves around the officials and their interpretation of it. Sometimes they’re lenient and other times they’re strict. I wish we can find a way to change this rule and have a more steady, more appropriate way to determine this infraction. Maybe only call it when it is purely obvious that two defensemen are grilling the offensive player with the ball. 

All in all, players should have fun playing power soccer, but they should not get too aggressive. After all, power soccer has yellow and red cards also. This sport is fast-paced and fun to watch, and it will become greater as the rules evolve. So, next time you see someone play power soccer, take a second to watch and you may get hooked!

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