CSUN kinesiology students learn the basics of Power Soccer

Madison Ruppert

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Kinesiology students Andreas Duran, 22, and Jesse Martinez, 21, from the Adapted Thereaputic Exercise class learned to play Power Soccer at a clinic held in Redwood Hall by four local athletes on Monday. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Daily Sundial

Kinesiology students Andreas Duran, 22, and Jesse Martinez, 21, from the Adapted Therapeutic Exercise class learned to play Power Soccer at a clinic held in Redwood Hall by four local athletes on Monday. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Daily Sundial

CSUN was introduced to the international sport of Power Soccer Monday night by four local athletes in a larger effort to create a Power Soccer club at CSUN.

The team members held a skills clinic, went over the history of the sport and played an informal game in Redwood Hall with exclusively kinesiology students.

Benny Aviles, the 29-year-old coach of the Glendale Rough Riders, led the clinic with Steve Everett, the western regional director of the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA).

“I’ve been in a wheelchair all my life. I never had the chance to play a sport,” Aviles said.

Aviles, who has muscular dystrophy, said he was hooked on the sport since he first saw a 10 second video clip online.

“I feel more confidence, my self-esteem is higher, I travel now with the team to go play and meet new people,” Aviles said.

Steve Everett, the western regional director of the United States Power Soccer Association, shows kinesiology students how to spin-kick during a clinic in Redwood Hall. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Daily Sundial

Steve Everett, the western regional director of the United States Power Soccer Association, shows kinesiology students how to spin-kick during a clinic in Redwood Hall. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Daily Sundial

Everett said that while Arizona State University and Ball State University have Power Soccer teams, there is not a single college team on the West Coast.

There are currently only two Power Soccer teams in Southern California, something which Aviles and Everett seek to change by raising awareness through clinics like the one held Monday.

“We’re hoping that we can expand this program to the whole San Fernando community,” said Mai Jara, a lecturer in the Kinesiology Department, and the host of the event.

Power Soccer athletes Adrianne “Dri” Akers, 29, and Zebreda Dunham, 35, also helped lead the clinic, showing students how to move around the court with the ball and other basic skills.

Students from Jara’s adapted therapeutic exercise class in the Kinesiology Department cheered, laughed and clapped as their classmates played an informal game.

CSUN kinesiology students participated in basic Power Soccer drills during a clinic in Redwood Hall Monday night. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Daily Sundial

CSUN kinesiology students participated in basic Power Soccer drills during a clinic in Redwood Hall Monday night. Photo credit: Loren Townsley / Daily Sundial

Power Soccer, brought to the United States in the 1980s and now governed by the USPSA, is played exclusively by users of power wheelchairs. However, the student participants used manual wheelchairs, so the athletes had to take it easy, Everett said.

Akers, Dunham and Everett have arthrogryposis multiplex, a rare congenital disorder, though most Power Soccer players have muscular dystrophy, Everett said.

The sport involves teams of four players who play on regulation basketball courts with modified power wheelchairs and a larger soccer ball especially designed for Power Soccer. Every four years, teams from around the world compete in a world cup, which the U.S. team has won back-to-back.

“When they make a chair for your sport, you know you’ve arrived,” Everett said, also stating that it will likely soon be in the Paralympics.

“Whether you’re on your feet or in a chair, sport is sport,” Everett said.