NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – Power Soccer is a sport for people with abilities, not disabilities.
The Piranhas Power Soccer Team is the only competitive team in Virginia.
Michael Sawyer said his son Sam has played on the team for years. Sam has Spinal muscular atrophy type 2. It is an inherited condition that affects the muscles.
“When you see him out on the soccer field, he’s just as kid playing soccer,” explained Sawyer.
Sawyer said it was always a dream come true to see his son playing out on the soccer field. He said sometimes Sam wouldn’t even tell his family if he was feeling ill, because he wanted to play the game.
“Power soccer is like freedom,” Sam said.
He’s 15-years-old and said he’s played Power Soccer for years, competing across the country.
Sam said, “It gives me my legs,” Sam explained.
Sam isn’t the only kid on the team. Several others too love the sport and say it’s like a family. They play together and even compete together.
He said, “Everyone in this sport is not weird or disabled, they’re normal. Normal people.”
Coach Stephen Belechak says the Piranhas are the only competitive Power Soccer team in Virginia. It started off a few years ago, and thanks to some local sponsors the team was able to get a brand new trailer to hall the chairs.
Chairs were also donated to the cause. All of the people on the team are wheel-chair bound. They have challenges in their day to day lives, but that doesn’t affect them on the court.
For the team to qualify, they have to compete meaning they have to travel which can cost thousands of dollars.
“I would sell my soul for sponsors,” Coach B said.
While the team needs money from sponsors, they also need a place to practice. Currently they’ve been moving from gym to gym weekly just to practice. Coach B said he would love if they had a home gym to store their trophies.
“It would be so cool to have a home,” He explained.
If you would like to play Power Soccer, they are always open to having new team members. You have to be at least five to play.
Coach said, “If you don’t know regular wheelchairs goes at 2.2 miles per hour. These guys are traveling at 6.2. Give it a shot sometime.”
Sam said if you try it out, you won’t regret it.
“I don’t know what I’d do without this sport. This sport is a lot. It means a lot to me.”
If you would like to help out with the team or want to play, click here. If anyone is interested in being a sponsor, email Stephen Belechak at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the team's YouCaring page to donate.