Power soccer makes its way to Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Power soccer makes its way to Eau Claire

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Everyone knows what soccer is, but what about power soccer?

American soccer is getting a facelift, changing the way players and patrons play and view the competitive sport. Pete Winslow, a soccer player on the Minnesota Shockwave, said, "It's really rewarding to know that I can do this all by myself."

Soccer athletes, who were in attendance, weren't sitting and cheering from the sidelines. Winslow said, "It's great out there, having that rush of adrenaline when we're playing that game."

 Instead, they were on the field, curtailing fast goals and whipping in circles with victory. Jerome Durand, a 30 year soccer veteran and player on the Minnesota Shockwave, said, "You know I got hooked, and I never stopped since."

Power soccer is for physically disabled athletes. A special guard is attached to the legs of a power wheel chair to dribble a soccer ball across the court. Ruth Akre, from the Northern Lights soccer team in Zimmerman, Minnesota, said, "The sport is for somebody who wouldn't have the opportunity. Those modifications we make are for people with a little bit more disability but it levels their playing field so they feel like everyone else on the court."

Cullen Connolly, a soccer player on the Chippewa Valley Hooligans, said, "Yeah, it's more fun to play, the feeling of just being able to compete in sports."

Cullen's mother, Lisa Connolly, said, "It was really hard when he started out as a middle schooler when all the kids were starting out in sports. And when we came across power soccer, that gave him the same rush that other kids have when playing a sport and the idea of playing on a team."

Like a video game, you need swift fingers.

Winslow said, "You're in control of the controller. You're out there doing it yourself; you got total control of the game."

These power chairs are a reminder to some players that sports can be played by anyone, of any age, no matter your physical condition. Durand said, "At the end, we have the same desire, dreams that anyone else has." Winslow said, "Because a lot of players that are new watch this sport and are like I don't think I can drive my chair like that. But you'd be surprised because it's very natural out there."

About seven teams attended Eau Claire's first power soccer exhibition. The Chippewa Valley Hooligans plans to have another power soccer event next year.

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