I talked to Sarah Schwegel of the #8 nationally-ranked DASA Missouri Rush Power Soccer team, along with her Coach Dennis St John, recently. First, what is Power Soccer
Power Soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users. Athletes’ disabilities include quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and many others. The game is played in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court. Two teams of four players attack, defend, and spin-kick a 13-inch soccer ball in a skilled and challenging game similar to able-bodied soccer.
Sarah, a senior at Maryville University, talks about her experiences playing with the DASA Missouri Rush squad (audio link below). The team is one of three sponsored by DASA, and is the select team at the top of their development pyramid, no different then able-bodied teams offer. We discuss a number of topics but in particular, she emphasizes the opportunity to play a competitive team sport as a major factor in her interest in the game. It is something that she got very excited about when introduced to the sport as a 14 year old that is still motivating her today, in her early twenties.
UPDATE – AJ Cochran (Houston Dynamo/Wisconsin/CBC) participating in a Power Soccer event in Houston
— Dynamo Charities (@dynamocharities) August 1, 2014
The team competes in the Premier League, which represents the Top 10 teams in the country. The sport uses promotion and relegation with the bottom two teams moving down while the top 2 teams move up. The DASA MO Rush squad reached the Premier League for the first time in 2012-2013 season and were successful in maintaining their spot in the League this past season.
They recently competed in the National Tournament in Arizona in early July. Sarah was recognized by the National Organization by receiving the Sportsmanship award in the Premier Cup.
The DASA Missouri Rush squad includes Brooke Feltmeyer, Tyler King, Troy Biernbaum, Connor Walsh, Brady Kedge, and Hayden Clarke.
Dennis St. John, as noted earlier, is the Head Coach and he is assisted by Assistant Coach Jen Kedge and Becca Payne, Team Manager.
Dennis, who is also the commissioner of the Summer League (for College age women), helps place the game within the context of able-bodied soccer players during the course of our discussion. Dennis was recently elected Executive Vice President of the National Power Soccer Board, in addition to being a member of the Missouri Youth Soccer Association Board of Directors.
For interested players, there will be an Open House in September in St Peter’s, with tournament play beginning in November. More information can be found at the DASA Power Soccer page.
Dennis also mentioned that World Soccer legend Mia Hamm is coming to St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, October 26th. Mia’s event is a fundraiser for the MYSA Passback Program and DASA (Disabled Athletes Sports Association) Power Chair Soccer.
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