Motorized Soccer Empowers Young Player

Published Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Trevor Cook is an enthusiastic, energetic, intelligent, fourteen year old who would read about hockey, watch hockey, and study hockey every moment of his life if allowed.

There are not many things that entice Trevor out of his home, unless related to hockey, such as playing street hockey with friends or watching the local Junior B hockey team, the Ridge Meadows Flames, play every Friday night.  However, last year Trevor and his mum saw a flyer for something completely unrelated to hockey which he wanted to try – Power Soccer.

Power Soccer is the only sport specifically for athletes in power wheelchairs. In power soccer a bumper is attached to the front of the power wheelchair and is used to maneuver and pass the oversized ball down the court to score. There are four players per team.

Trevor was initially, and continues to be, drawn to the speed he is allowed to use while playing Power Soccer. Speed is a definite lure to the sport. The ability to open one’s chair up and to go beyond the safe, controlled driving one uses daily is a definite enticement, especially for teenagers.

During the weekly practices Trevor tends to want to have mock games rather than work on drills. Although Trevor will probably never stop saying “drills are boring, give me action!” he does see, reluctantly, that the drills are increasing his skills as a player so that he can maneuver the ball through the competition’s defence, and work with his team to score.

The importance of fine tuning his Power Soccer skills increased when the Maple Ridge team, the Ridge Rockets, joined a Power Soccer league earlier this year. The Greater Vancouver league includes teams in Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Surrey.

Trevor was thrilled with the news that the Ridge Rockets were part of a league as he can now do something with Power Soccer that he previously only did with hockey – keep stats of players. And unlike in hockey he can now keep his own stats.

Trevor is also looking forward to playing games against other teams so that he can have new spectators watching. Trevor loves an audience as he honks the loud horn on his chair when he, or a teammate, scores a goal.

While many players, such as Trevor, have cerebral palsy, power soccer is a sport for anyone who uses a power wheelchair. Both females and males play, and ages are varied from eight on up.

Power Soccer offers those in power wheelchairs the opportunity to let their competitive spirit loose. The game challenges players to anticipate the moves of the other team while using speed, skill, and teamwork to score. It is also just a fun game that players of all levels enjoy playing.

Power soccer is played locally, provincially, and internationally. One of the provincial competitions is the annual B.C. Disability Games. Maple Ridge will be hosting these games in 2008 and the Ridge Rockets are looking forward to representing their community on home ground.

The Ridge Rockets practice once a week, on Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 7:30 PM at Alexander Robinson Elementary School. The Maple Ridge team is looking for new players who want to, as Trevor says “ try something fun and very exciting”. The team is also looking for volunteers of all types, including coaching. For more information call (604) 466•8771.

The Ridge Rockets have a home game on April 5th from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at Alexander Robinson Elementary. Anybody interested in learning more about the sport, seeing a game, or playing, is welcome to come and watch.