The Glendale power wheelchair soccer teams played their first game of the season in a friendly match against their local rivals from Santa Barbara on Dec. 5 in the Verdugo Gym.
The first and second division teams played two 40-minute games each, but only the second game was official since the first game of each respective division was only a practice game.
The first division teams, The Glendale Roughriders and Rolling Gauchos, played an intense game, but in the end the Rolling Gauchos came away the victors with a score of 2-0.
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“We haven’t had many practices together this year yet since we are just getting started, but this game was a really good practice,” said Cindy Wells, the Roughriders’ coach and mother of Joey Wells, the captain of the team.
Cindy said that another factor that affected the Roughriders was the absence of four players who would have been keys to the game, since many of the players who played were starters who lacked the experience of the missing players.
Other than missing those players “I think we did really good,” said Wells.
Joey was upbeat about the outcome of the game.
“It was good competition,” said Joey. “We played very hard and they beat us, but we’ll
win next time.”
The new Glendale power soccer team, the Wild Wheelers, made its debut against the Santa Barbara Rebels in the second division game. But despite hard work, the first and only goal came from the Rebels, who won 1-0.
Jeff Graner of the Wild Wheelers was positive about the start of the season and said that the game is all about learning from others.
“It’s my first game and I’m learning from all my teammates,” said Graner. “Overall, we played very well and I’m really excited about the next game.
Cindy also said that despite the losses by the Roughriders and the Wild Wheelers, the game was a rewarding learning experience. She said the fact that they belong to and are part of a team gives the players confidence, and they “show people that they are like everybody else and that being in a wheelchair does not make them helpless.”
“I’m very proud of both of the teams because they play really hard,” said Cindy. “It’s very inspiring to watch them because they don’t let their disability stop them.”
Both teams will have a fundraiser on Saturday to raise money for travel and equipment expenses. Part of the event will include a band playing live music, raffle tickets, a postcard sale, food and drinks.
The fundraiser “Capability Bash” will be held in the Verdugo Gym and runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Public parking will be in lot 32 across the footbridge.
Also, Joey will be presenting and selling his book “Through My Eyes,” in which he expresses what his life is like through poetry. Five dollars from the sale of each book will go toward the teams.
The Roughriders and The Wild Wheelers are part of the Western League of the United States Power Soccer Association and will be playing their next game in an independent power soccer tournament in Arizona next month.