Local athletes take part in national competition
Recently two local athletes returned to Central New York from their last training camp before international play. Andrew (Drew) Cunningham of Camillus and Peyton Sefick of Syracuse both athletes from CNY United, the premiere power soccer team in New York State, traveled to Greenwood, Indiana, outside of Indianapolis, recently to get in one final three-day practice with their fellow United States Power Soccer Association’s (USPSA) Team USA teammates. Cunningham and Sefick, who have been training with Team USA for over two years, continue to hone their skills in preparation for the 2017 Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Association’s (FIPFA) World Cup to be held in Kissimmee, Florida, July 5-9. Teams from nine countries around the world including the United States will compete for the sport’s highest honor.
Powerchair football or power soccer is played by athletes who use power wheelchairs. The sport is played throughout the US by over 400 athletes in over 60 teams and internationally in 27 countries around the world. Played “4 on 4” on an indoor basketball court in wheelchairs specifically designed for the game, power soccer players dribble and “spin-kick” a 13” soccer ball in an exciting and fast game to pass, shoot and score.
Power soccer gives many disabled athletes the ability to get off the sidelines and get into the game. Cunningham and Sefick, their CNY United and Team USA teammates and power soccer athletes around the world accept the daily challenges that muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and other severe physical disabilities present and approach their sport with a passion that is truly inspirational. The CNY duo have played together for nearly 10 years and, along with their CNY United teammates, have pushed each other to the highest levels of the sport. In 2015, CNY United brought home the USPSA “Premier Cup” championship, defeating teams from across the United States and beating the Arizona Sun Devils, 3-2 in the final championship match.
Cunningham, 17, is a senior at Westhill High School and has been playing power soccer for nearly a decade. Sefick, 26, is a graduate of Le Moyne College and Coordinator of the Fitness Inclusion Network, a program of Upstate Medical Hospital that promotes sports and physical activity for individuals with disabilities. This is Sefick’s second time with Team USA, he was also a member of the 2011 USPSA national team.
The 2017 FIPFA World Cup is the third edition of this international tournament and the first time that it will be played in the United States. Team USA has brought home the World Cup championship from each of the first two tournaments held in Tokyo, Japan and Paris, France. World Cup games will be streamed online through www.powersoccershop.com .
If you are interested in learning more about power soccer, CNY United, the FIPFA World Cup or Team USA contact: Tom Cunningham, 315-546-3212, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jim Sefick, 315-345-1941, email@example.com; or Alis Sefick, 315-857-7934, firstname.lastname@example.org.