2019 U.S. Power Soccer Association Nationals Recap

The 2019 United States Power Soccer Association held the national championship tournaments June 15-18 at the Turnstone Center in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. If you've never heard of power soccer, read these two Live Quickie articles, then come on back. I'll wait!

With 39 teams spread across four divisions, including several teams making their debut at a national level, this year's event was the largest power soccer gathering in U.S. history. Over 120 games were played over the course of four days. With the exception of the top division, teams playing their division's championship match earned a promotion to the next division up. Conversely, with the exception of the bottom division, the two teams finishing last were moved to the division below.

Ability360 FC, the team for which I play and coach, was one of the teams making its debut at nationals. We were a mix of both experienced and brand new players. I've been playing for more than a decade, and we had two people who picked up the sport less than eight months prior to the tournament. It was an exciting moment for our program, as we were looking to bring home our first trophy. Although we were competing in the Founders Conference, which was the fourth division, our opponents proved to be quite challenging.

Before my team started the competition, I had heard from a few folks that we were favored to win the tournament. This was a surprise to me, although I had a good feeling that we would do well. However, those good feelings were quickly set on fire when we played California's Sac Valley Flames and ended up on the losing end of a 3-1 match. To say I was disheartened after that would be a bit of an understatement. Suddenly, the expectations that I set for our team were thrown out the window and I had to not only reassure my team that we were going to be okay, but I had to convince myself that we were going to be okay. Our next match against DASA from St. Louis was an even bigger challenge due to the fact that we had just lost our first match. Nevertheless, we dug deep and managed to pull out a 4-0 win!

The next day, we played against the Henry County Hotshots from Indiana. This game served as a springboard to get our confidence back. We managed to score seven goals against an up-and-coming team. This match served us well as we marched forward through the competition.

Our next match was against the STRAPS Scorpions from San Antonio, Texas. This was a highly contested battle. We scored first, but they came storming back and tied the game. The second half was a tense battle as both teams had several opportunities to take the lead. It wasn't until the final minute to the match that we were able to find the breakthrough we needed. We won that game 2-1; it was both thrilling and exhausting.

We wouldn't learn until later that the game we played against the STRAPS Scorpions would be pivotal to our destiny going forward. The next day we played the Baystate Warriors and struggled to pull out a 2-0 victory. That was the final match in the group stages. After looking at the results, it turned out that our victory against San Antonio was the deciding factor between us playing for fifth place or moving ahead to the semifinals.

The next morning, we played our semifinal match against the Shepherd Strikers from Atlanta, Georgia. It proved to be our toughest battle yet. Both teams exchanged heavy punches, but neither team fell. We scored first within the opening 10 minutes of the first half. There were a couple of close calls on both sides, but that goal int he first half was the only one of the match. We were soon on to the finals! Keeping a close eye on the other semifinal match, we soon found out that we would have another chance against the Sac Valley Flames. This time, it was for the championship.

Since we had already lost to them in our first match, we knew what we were getting into the second time around. We made some tactical adjustments to counter their strengths. In the first match, they really used their ability to drag people up and down the court to beat us. This time, we didn't give them the chance by employing much more passing. It worked, and we scored first. After that first goal, we never looked back. We scored three more goals after that and won the game 4-0. It was an exhilarating moment for the program. Not only did we beat the team that beat us in our first match, but we shut them out as well!

Ability360 FC
Tony Jackson (pictured right) alongside his team, Ability360 FC at the 2019 U.S. Power Soccer Association National Championship Tournament, alongside a photo of teammate Austin Cuaderno who recently passed away.

Earlier in the season, we lost one of our teammates, Austin Cuaderno. It was devastating to the team, but we used his loss as our motivation to win the championship. We were all thrilled that we were able to bring home the title for Austin.

This was the first championship trophy for Ability360 power soccer, and the future of the program is very promising!

About the Author

Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson is currently a Registration/Reception Specialist and the Power Soccer Coordinator at the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center in Phoenix, AZ, where he coaches athletes and plays for Ability360 FC. In addition, he provides play-by-play commentary for domestic and international power soccer tournaments with Power Soccer Shop. He also started ParaSportsLive in 2017, with the goal of live streaming other adaptive sports to raise awareness of all of the amazing athletes out there. In his spare time, he enjoys discovering new music, cooking, dreaming of the next travel adventure, watching sports, and improving his graphic design skills.

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Date: 7/30/2019 12:00:00 AM

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