Up North: Power Wheelchair Soccer looking to score Northland participants

Up North: Power Wheelchair Soccer looking to score Northland participants

Up North: Power Wheelchair Soccer looking to score Northland participants

Power chair soccer is a rapidly growing sport all over the world, and Northland Adaptive Recreation has allowed those interested to try it out for a few years now.

Northland Adaptive Recreation has run a power chair soccer program since 1979, but after COVID-19, has struggled to find players.

Right now, the current roster sits at just three participants, which isn’t enough to play against other teams in the region.

“I don’t think a lot of people know that power soccer exists and that, you know, it’s something that no matter your ability, whether you can drive your power chair yourself, we have volunteers that can drive your chair for you,” said Anna Hartshorn, a participant in the program. “Otherwise, if you’re able to drive your chair, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for bodies to come in and help us play and just have a good time.”

For Randy Peterson, that’s why he chose to come to play about a year ago, and hasn’t stopped since.

“It’s just fun,” said Peterson. “It’s fun to just zoom around and hit a ball. Knock it into people or try and make a goal with it. Try and keep it under control. You just try and keep it going straight and sometimes it just doesn’t want to.”

Each power chair gets set up with a guard at the front of it, and the game is played with a bigger, heavier soccer ball, in order for the ball to stay on the ground.

At practice, the athletes set up some drills and went through them, all encouraging each other and making sure to make the most of their time, because it’s what they love.

“I decided to try soccer and I fell in love with it,” said Hartshorn. I fell in love with the other participants and being able to socialize and try new things.”

However, the team needs some help in order to play at the next level.

“There aren’t a whole lot of team opportunities for people with disabilities, particularly if they are a power wheelchair user,” shared Mark Hanna, the program director. “This is one activity that they can do. Have teammates, practices, games, and just another form of recreation to get people out having fun.”

“Try something that might sound fun,” added Peterson. “If it sounds at all fun, go try it, and who knows, it might stick.”

Signups for the program can be found here.