(FOX40.COM) — Sacramento Republic FC is joining an effort to bring a national tournament for physically challenged athletes to the Sacramento region in 2024.
Members of the Republic FC will play a friendly with its power soccer division on Tuesday, Oct. 10 to place a bid for the region to host the U.S. Power Soccer Association National Tournament and help raise awareness of the sport of power soccer.
Power soccer is a competitive sport for power wheelchair users and is played on a full-size basketball court. The sport involves two teams of four players each in a match involving a 13-inch soccer ball and two 20-minute periods, according to the United States Power Soccer Association.
The friendly match is slated to take place from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Roebbelen Center in Roseville. The Roebbelen Center, which has hosted national basketball tournaments in the past, is a venue where local power soccer advocates hope to serve as the host site.
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Participants in power soccer include people with quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and other disabilities, according to the Sacramento power soccer website.
The friendly is a chance for power soccer to get financial support from local sponsors, along with discussing a national tournament with local officials, as $40,000 will need to be raised.
The Roebbelen Center is a 160,000-square-foot facility with 12 basketball courts. The requirement for the national is four courts as four games occur simultaneously.
“Because we have the extra courts, we were actually looking at running a side tournament for non-conference teams,” Power Soccer advocate Lara Hawthrone told FOX40.com. “We have four or five such teams in the area that can run their own small tournament and it gives us an opportunity to make the sport accessible at this tournament because the facility is so large.”
Hawthrone is the mother of Hunter Horkheimer of Loomis, a power soccer athlete who plays multiple positions for the Sacramento team.
The U.S. Power Soccer Association’s national tournament is usually held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but there is no host site selected for a tournament from June 12 to 16, 2024. A tournament in Roseville would bring about 45 teams and 250 athletes throughout the country and contribute revenue to the local economy.
About 25% of power soccer teams that would typically compete in the tournament are from California, Hawthorne said. Other power soccer teams from the state include teams from Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and Berkeley.
“The sport is very active in the state,” Hawthorne said. “We should legitimately have the national tournament out here and bring those tourism dollars.”