October 2, 2007 > USA National Team heads to Tokyo for first World Power Football Championships
USA National Team heads to Tokyo for first World Power Football Championships
By Biff Jones
Head Coach, Chris Finn, of San Leandro leads Team USA in the first international Power Soccer tournament under the new unified rules from the sport's governing body, Federation International de Powerchair Football Association. Team USA is scheduled to spend about ten days in Tokyo, Japan practicing and playing an exhibition game before the start of the five day round robin tournament and playoffs.
Eight players plus alternates make up a team, and each player has to be accompanied by a personnel aid to assist them when needed. Athletes on Team USA range in age from sixteen to thirty - some high school students and others college graduates. They have disabilities such as athrogryposis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spinal cord injury. USA's thirty-seven member delegation includes Coach Chris Finn, Assistant Coach Dominic Russo (Carmel, IN), Team Manager Jessi Navarro (Tampa, FL) in charge of transportation, flights, hotels, passports, etc. and Equipment Manager Robert Book (San Jose), who fixes the wheel chairs as needed and insures their safe operation.
A power soccer team fields four players at a time including the goal keeper and four substitutes. USA team members are Michael Archer, Greenwood, IN (age 17), Jerry Book, San Jose (18), Danny Goodman, Safety Harbor, FL (16), Jessica Lehman, Emeryville (30), Elio Navarro, Tampa, FL (27), JC Russo, Carmel (17), and Jairo and Omar Solorio (18) and (22) respectively, of Hollister. Alternates include Ed McGuire, Mesa, AZ (27), Corbett O'Toole, Albany, CA, Natalie Russo, Carmel (18) and Dakotah Smith, Kennesaw, GA (22).
Jessica Lehman also works in Hayward for Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) and does a lot of her work in the Tri-City Area. The company has a satellite office in Fremont and Coach Finn is President of the Board of Directors of CRIL.
In addition to Team USA, other countries competing are Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Japan and Portugal. Canada will be represented but will not field a team. France will be the team to beat as they have over 100 clubs playing power soccer, with Japan and England close behind. The U.S. has about 40 clubs.
Team USA's first game in the round robin format is on Tuesday, October 9 at 16:30 Japan time against England. There is a sixteen hour time difference between Japan and California so game time here is 12:30 a.m. PDT, Oct. 9th. Other USA games, dates and times (PDT) are Portugal, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m., Belgium, Oct. 9, 12 Midnight, Japan, Oct. 10, 3 a.m. and France, Oct. 12, 12:30 a.m. No games on Oct. 11th Japan time. The semi-finals (first plays fourth and second plays third), final and third place games will all be played on Saturday, Oct. 13th Japan time. Semi-final (1) Oct.12, 6 p.m. PDT, semi-final (2) Oct. 12, 7:45 p.m., third place (semi-final losers) Oct. 12, 10:45 p.m. and final (semi-final winners) Oct. 13, 12:30 a.m.
Matches will broadcast via the Internet on <World Cup LIVE WebCast> courtesy of MOBACHOO through the www.powersoccerteamusa.org website. Video of all Team USA World Cup games also will be available for on-demand viewing via XAble.com.