CICOA Clients Help U.S. Team Clinch Second Powerchair Football World Cup

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Case Calvert and JC Russo, members of the U.S. National Power Soccer Team and CICOA clients, recently brought home the FIPFA 2011 Powerchair Football World Cup. The U.S. team competed for its second World Cup in Paris, France, Nov. 2-6, becoming the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles.

According to the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA), power soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for people who use a power wheelchair. The rules are similar to traditional soccer except games are played indoors on a regulation basketball court. Two teams of four athletes attempt to score goals with a 13-inch soccer ball.

This was Case’s first international competition, and he said there were many memorable moments. He remembers being the first U.S. team member to kiss the World Cup trophy as thousands of fans celebrated their victory. But what Case said he will remember most is the relationships he formed with his teammates.

“We worked hard, we trusted each other and it paid off,” Case said.

Developing a Love for the Sport

Case said it took him two years to go out and even watch a game after friends approached him about the sport.

“I wasn’t looking for an ‘everyone’s a winner’ kind of experience,” Case said. “I wanted a sport I could do by myself in a competitive environment, and I found what I was looking for in power soccer.”

In contrast, JC said he was hooked on playing power chair soccer the first time he learned about the sport. Sensing his enthusiasm, his mom, Karen Russo, helped to set up the first power soccer clinics in Indiana in 2003.

Today, both Case and JC play locally on the Circle City Rollers team at Mt. Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Ind.

The Road to the World Cup

To make the U.S. team, JC and Case submitted references and sent videos to coaches showing their ball handling skills and their ability to kick penalty shots. Later, they attended a selection camp where the U.S. team was whittled down to 12.

The team practiced for two years. Each week, team members completed drills on their own and, every two to three months, they met for intensive training camps in Indiana and locations as far away as San Francisco, Atlanta and Alabama.

JC said, “We had three-day sessions, up to 12 hours a day, where we were learning plays, scrimmaging and practicing drills.”

In the World Cup competition, both young men played pivotal roles on the team. Case was one of the three offensive/defensive players on the court. JC, the U.S. league’s top scorer last year, switched positions to serve as the team’s goal keeper. The team beat the Swiss 21-0 in their first game, but lost to England in an early match. According to JC, the team gained momentum after defeating the French team, the team they had faced in the final match of the 2007 World Cup in Tokyo. In the 2011 final game, the U.S beat England 3-0 in a tournament re-match.

Support Team

Case said he appreciates the sacrifices his family made in helping his team achieve their goal. His dad, Lemuel Calvert, serves as the team’s CFO and helped to raise the $100,000 needed to travel and compete in France. His dad has taken Case to every practice and game. His mom, Sharon, and older brother, Christian, are on the sidelines for games and tournaments as well.

JC said he cannot find words to express his gratitude for the support his family has provided. Power chair soccer has become a part of the Russo’s life. Karen and her husband, Dominic, created Power Soccer of Indy in 2006 and they serve as the executive vice president and president of The United States Power Soccer Association executive board.

Russo said, “Without my parents, I definitely would not have competed in the World Cup.”

To find about local teams and for more information about power soccer, go to http://www.powersoccerofindy.com.


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