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Power Soccer Tournament Brings Together Elite Wheelchair Athletes
Power soccer is an adaptive sport played by athletes who use power wheelchairs. The chairs are fitted with specially designed metal guards on the front that allow them to move a 13-inch soccer ball around a court. This past weekend, some of the best power soccer players in the country gathered in Gilbert for the Premier Conference Cup, a championship tournament.
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"I first got involved with power soccer while I was a student at Arizona State University," said Gabe Trujillo, captain of the Sun Devil Power Soccer Club. "I was writing for the State Press newspaper and I was doing a story on adaptive sports. I went to a practice in Mesa, saw what they were doing, interviewed a few people. I initially just did it as an objective third-party just to see what it was about, but as soon as I saw everybody rolling around the court, I knew that I had to be involved with it any way I could."
"About 10 years ago, my mom saw an (ad for power soccer) in the newspaper and she forced me to go," said Trujillo's teammate Jordan Dickey. "I didn't want to go because I was a shy little kid. I loved it and I haven't stopped playing since."
"I've loved sports ever since I was little and this got my competitive juices pumping," Dickey said.
"It just invigorates you as a person to be able to do a sport, to be able to do something that's not just sitting at home, hanging out in your wheelchair all day," said goalie Ryan Kenneally. "You're actually out doing things. You get to travel across the country to go play against other teams (and) build lots of good friendships."
"I think it's also an important sport, because there (aren't) a lot of sports out there for people in power wheelchairs," Kenneally said. "I think we need to get the word out there and let people know that this sport exists."