GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The first-ever power soccer tournament hosted in Grand Rapids brought in five teams from across the Midwest.
The event was on Saturday and Sunday and hosted by the home team, Mary Free Bed Overdrive. The team started four years ago, but this was the first time they got to play in a tournament at home.
“It’s pretty wonderful because most of our family members and friends would have to travel out of state to come see us, but this is very nice because they can just come down to the facility and watch us play,” Kyle Friar, a player for Mary Free Bed Overdrive, said.
The team is a part of Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program, and the tournament was sponsored by Lake Michigan Credit Union.
Power soccer is a sport similar to soccer, but the players are people who have a physical disability and use power chairs for daily mobility. It is played on a basketball court with a larger ball.
“Power soccer is a unique, specialized sport for people who use power chairs, but they use a special power chair to play this sport, and it just makes it so that they’re having the same experiences as our able-bodied friends and family who play sports,” Maria Besta, manager of wheelchair adaptive sports and recreation therapy at Mary Free Bed, said.
This team is just one of more than 40 programs that are offered by Mary Free Bed.