The sport of Power Wheelchair Soccer today looks much different than it did when it first began. In the beginning, players typically played with their everyday wheelchairs that were modified in some way with a plastic guard on the front of their chair to kick the ball. There were multiple problems with this situation, and at times chairs were tipped over because the ball would become caught under the tires of the wheelchair. Since that time, the sport has evolved. With better balls and wheelchairs available now, the sport has become the most competitive as it has ever been.
With newer equipment being designed every year, it makes it difficult to keep up with the best of the best. Currently, in the United States, and around the world, the Strike Force wheelchair, designed by the Power Soccer Shop (a subdivision of NEMI), located in Minnesota, is the number one power soccer chair to use in the sport today. However, at a base price of $7,900.00, this chair is out of reach for many players. Any special adaptations to the chair cost extra, so the price of a customized Strike Force wheelchair could easily climb to over $10,000.00 depending on the player’s specific needs. Many players and teams host fundraisers and/or apply for adaptive sports grants to obtain a customized Strike Force chair. Currently, the Hot Shots has only three out of eight players using Strike Force chairs. Here are some pictures of those chairs.
For those who do not have access to a Strike Force wheelchair, the Quickie P200 and, newer model, Quickie P220, are the next best option. However, unfortunately, the Quickie cannot compare to Power Soccer Shop’s revolutionary Strike Force Chair in its maneuverability, adjustability, or customization. Below are some pictures of the current usage of the Quickie wheelchair modified to be used in Power Wheelchair Soccer.
While most Power Wheelchair Soccer Players currently use either a Strike Force wheelchair or a modified Quickie wheelchair, some still use center drive wheelchairs to play the sport. Center drive wheelchairs are not ideal for the sport of Power Wheelchair Soccer because they lack the responsiveness of the other, faster types of chairs. However, if played correctly, a player using a center drive wheelchair can still be a huge asset to his/her team by being in the right place at the right time to receive the ball, pass, block, or score. Below is a picture of a modified center drive wheelchair used for Power Wheelchair Soccer.
The sport is played with four players with one goalie and three players on the floor. It differs slightly from able-bodied soccer in that no two players from the same team can be within three meters of each other when an opponent and the ball are in the same play space. This is called a 2 on 1 foul. This requires each player to pay attention to the spacing and placement of each player on their team with relation to their opponents. Another rule of Power Wheelchair Soccer is that only two players are allowed within the “box” around their goal area. The goalie and one other player are allowed inside the box to defend their goal. Communication is highly important when playing these positions. When playing Power Wheelchair Soccer, no team member (including the goalie) is allowed touch the ball with any portion of their body, so all ball movement must be made by using the guards and/or side of the wheelchair. The ball is also not allowed to elevate off the floor more than 20 inches for safety reasons. If for some reason the ball does leave the floor more than 20 inches the play is stopped. To learn more about the rules of the game, visit the United States Powers Soccer Association (USPSA) website to see the “Laws of the Game”.