What is it?
Power Soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users. Two teams of four power chair users each attack, defend, and maneuver an oversized soccer ball in an attempt to score points on a goal. The ball, which is 18 inches in diameter, is manipulated by plastic formed soccer guards mounted on the front of each player's wheelchair. The sport is co-ed by design with male and female athletes often playing on the same team, as well as on opposing sides. The game is usually played indoors in a gymnasium on a regulation basketball court, but occasionally takes place in outdoor parking lots.
Who can play?
Anyone who uses a power wheelchair is eligible to play. All players must have the ability to operate their chairs safely. Participants include people five years old and up who have quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, head trauma, stroke, or any other physical disability.
Power Soccer was developed more than 20 years ago, but is only now exploding onto the public scene. The United States, Canada, Denmark, England, France, and Japan currently field teams and tournaments. The National Disability Sports Alliance (NDSA) recently welcomed Power Soccer as a new Official Sport on its roster.
A power wheelchair is necessary to participate in the sport. Rear-wheel, Mid-wheel, or Front-wheel drives are all acceptable. Front-wheel drives, however, offer better maneuverability (faster turns) compared to rear-wheel drives. Since power soccer is a fast-paced, it is recommended that standard footrests should be used if the chair is equipped with expensive power-elevating footrests. Soccer guards, or a specially designed bumper, are temporarily attached to the footplates of the chairs to help in maneuvering the ball, protect the athletes' feet and to prevent damage to wheelchairs.
The objective of the game of Power Soccer is to use the wheelchair to maneuver the ball so as to score on the opposing team's goal.
The game is played indoors on a standard-size basketball court, with a goal zone designated by two pylons 25 feet apart on each end line of the court.
A Power Soccer game consists of two 25-minute halves (23 minutes straight time), and the last 2 minutes are stop-clock. Each team is allowed two 2-minute timeouts per half. When a team's equipment breaks down during play, the referee shall allow play to continue, as long as safety is not compromised. When there is a break in the play, the referee shall call a timeout to have the equipment repaired (no more than 2 minutes).
There are four players per team, one of whom is the goal keeper.
The ball must be moved by the wheelchair--not by the hand or foot of a player or by contact with a player's body, unless it is by accident. Intentionally maneuvering the ball with any part of a player's body is a violation.
Only two players from each team and the goal keeper are allowed in the goal zone at any given time. Any ball that goes out of bounds is hit-in by the team not responsible for putting the ball out of bounds, at the point along the sideline where it left the court.
Fouls result in free kicks and penalty kicks, depending on the severity of the foul.
Minor fouls include:
Major fouls include:
- Holding: physically restraining the movement of an opponent's wheelchair.
- Clipping: contacting an opponent's wheelchair on the side.
- Redirecting: changing the direction of the opponent's wheelchair by pushing directly against it.
- Backing up: when a player's wheelchair travels backward in a straight line with all four wheels rotating backwards. Only the goalie is allowed to go in reverse.
- Hand ball: intentionally moving the ball with hands or feet.
- Illegal substitution: player entering the court without the referee's permission.
- Goal zone violation: a team has more than the allotted number of players in the goal zone.
National Governing Body:
- Charging: a player ramming his chair in to that of another player who has position.
- Goal tending: any player with one wheel over the goal line.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct: deliberate disrespect to the spirit of the game
Last Updated on Sunday, 28 June 2009 18:52