CHICAGO (Dec. 4, 2022) — December marks the third annual U.S. Disability Soccer Month, presented by Degree Deodorant, with U.S. Soccer working side-by-side with Degree to celebrate programs and member organizations supporting athletes with disabilities in every corner of the sport. Degree became the first-ever dedicated sponsor of the Men’s and Women’s CP National Teams in 2021.
“We’re excited to bring back U.S. Disability Soccer Month this year with the help of Degree,” said Stuart Sharp, Extended National Teams Technical Director. “It’s an important spotlight on our disability soccer programs and member organizations, from the National Team level to the grassroots, and across every discipline of the sport. There are so many individuals and organizations doing great things in this space and it’s inspiring to see our “Adapt and Thrive” message taken up across the country.”
U.S. Disability Soccer Month will once again bring a number of exciting moments to highlight the community of American soccer organizations serving athletes with disabilities, including the American Amputee Soccer Association, Down Syndrome Sports of America, Dwarf Athletic Association of America, U.S. Association of Blind Athletes, Cerebral Palsy Soccer, USA Deaf Soccer, and U.S. Power Soccer Association.
The celebration kicked off on Dec. 3, the International Day of People with Disabilities, and will continue throughout the month on U.S. Soccer social media platforms. Two virtual events hosted by U.S. Soccer’s Disability Soccer Committee and the ADAPTandTHRIVE working group will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET and Sunday, December 11 at 12 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. ET.
The December 7 event is focused on professionals in and around disability soccer including coaches, referees, administrators, and more. Content will include accessible programming within soccer, the importance of professional development and growth, and other tools for disability soccer professionals’ success.
The December 11 event is a fun and interactive zoom training session for athletes. U.S. Soccer’s Disability Service Organizations (DSOs) serve athletes of all ages and ability and include opportunity for persons who have limb difference, intellectual and developmental disabilities or down syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke, or dwarfism. They also offer services to athletes who are blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, or use wheelchairs.
At the start of the new year, U.S. Soccer will celebrate the CP Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year Award, presented by Degree, and the ADAPTandTHRIVE Award honoring individuals making an impact in disability soccer. Nominees for the awards will be announced on Dec. 12.
December serves as a lead-up to a very active 2023 calendar year, which will four of U.S. Soccer’s Para National Teams competing in a major international competitions. The CP Men’s National Team is in preparation for the Parapan Games coming to Santiago, Chile in November, 2023, while the Deaf Men’s and Women’s National Teams will take part in the Deaf Soccer World Championships beginning in September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Additionally, the coed U.S. Power Soccer National Team will stage its first-ever camp under the auspices of U.S. Soccer in January as the finalize their preparation for the FIPFA Powerchair World Cup in Sydney, Australia in October 2023.
Below is a snapshot of some of the key Extended National Teams programming planned in 2023 for U.S. Soccer’s Para NTs.
– 2nd Annual ADAPTandTHRIVE Invitational set for early March in Chula Vista, Calif., with all five U.S. Para NTs staging camps from March 1-9 (CP MNT, CP WNT, Deaf MNT, Deaf WNT, Power Soccer NT)
– Power Soccer will stage their inaugural camp under U.S. Soccer in January with an eye on their World Cup in Australia in October
– Deaf WNT will have their first camp under U.S. Soccer in January, alongside the MNT, as both teams prep for the Deaf Soccer World Championship in Malaysia in September
– CP WNT will begin preparation for an international competition yet to be finalized at the ADAPTandTHRIVE Invitational, while the CP MNT will have a full slate of camps in preparation for the Parapan Games in Santiago, Chile in November. Both Cerebral Palsy National Teams are for qualifying players with CP, stroke or traumatic brain injury.
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