Soccer is generally categorized as one of the world’s major sports. Add a wheelchair to it, however, and the game becomes something entirely different.
Wheelchair soccer, not to be confused with power soccer (another wheelchair sport), is an adapted form of soccer that the Therapeutic Recreation and Recreation Management Club (TREC) will be hosting today, Thursday Nov. 3, from 6-8 p.m. in Dana Gym.
TREC is encouraging students to grab a wheelchair to take on a team with national aspirations. Their opponents, the Wild Wheels, hail from the Center for Human Development (CHD), specifically the organization’s Disability Resources program.
According to TREC President Elizabeth Louie, Wild Wheels will be competing in the United States Association of Indoor Wheelchair Soccer National Championship on Nov. 11 in New York. CHD Disability Resources is located on Pine Street in Springfield.
“They’re going to Nationals, so we’re doing a little pre-warm-up tournament for them,” TREC vice president and junior Emily Durante said.
Wheelchair soccer shares a few of the same rules as soccer, but it is very different from the original game.
“It’s more adaptive,” TREC president and senior Elizabeth Louie said. “It’s sort of like handball.”
The game shares characteristics of handball, basketball, ice hockey and basketball, to name a few. It takes aspects of the various games and combines them in order to adapt to players in wheelchairs.
TREC will be playing multiple, approximately 30-minute games of seven on seven during their two-hour time frame.
Similar to basketball, players dribble or pass to move the ball around. The twist, however, is that players do not have to be dribbling constantly in order to move. According to Louie, position players are given three seconds without dribbling before they are required to either pass or resume dribbling. Goalkeepers are allotted five seconds before they have to get rid of the ball.
When the ball goes out of bounds, soccer rules are used to resume the game. A change of possession occurs, and the team who did not knock the ball out of bounds returns the ball to the playing field by throwing a two-handed, overhead pass from the sideline.
Ice hockey-esque rules come into effect for the goalie. A goalie crease determines the area where position players cannot enter and score legally.
TREC is collaborating with American International College students in an attempt to get a few referees to work the games. Louie will also be serving as a referee for the games.
This free event is open to all students. Raffles will be held to raise money to donate to CHD’s cause. Raffle items include gift certificates and Springfield Falcons’ tickets. All of the money earned will go to the Center for Human Development.
“We chose this organization because they work closely with Springfield College, but also just this past year, they’ve lost 70 percent of their funding,” Louie said.
“Our major [goal] and the purpose of this club is to make that awareness [of disabilities] known and improve the overall quality of life of those with disabilities,” Durante added.
By hosting this interactive event, TREC hopes not only to raise awareness for people with disabilities but also to raise CHD’s funds in the process.
Joe Brown may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org