Last time we told you about Central New York's power wheelchair soccer team, CNY United, they were on their way to the national championships. With that title now in the bag, they're looking ahead to a new season, but they're also facing an unusual challenge. Our Sarah Blazonis caught up with the team at their latest tournament.
CANASTOTA, N.Y. -- You might say sports is in Scott Goyette's blood.
"I grew up in a family of athletes," said Goyette. "Both my brothers and my father played sports, but I've been disabled pretty much all my life. So I was always the spectator."
But two years ago, Goyette left the sidelines and got in the game thanks to his power soccer team, the Vermont Chargers.
Just as excited to learn about the Chargers was our local team, CNY United. They may have a national championship under their belt, but the team says so far their biggest challenge has been finding people to play with them, and against them.
"One of the problems that's inherent in the sport, specifically in our area, is that there aren't many teams," said CNY United Head Coach Jim Sefick.
"The closest team is Vermont. Other than that, we have to go to Indiana, we have to go to Georgia, all over the east coast," said team member Peyton Sefick.
Players said they think part of the challenge is changing the mindset of potential athletes.
"They're using power wheelchairs, which means they have a pretty high level of disability," said Goyette. "That can generally be fairly isolating for folks, and generally folks don't think of themselves as being athletes or playing sports."
But the U.S. Power Soccer Association says the sport is the fastest growing for people in power chairs. Nine new teams joined the league this year alone, and CNY United is working to expand its reach closer to home.
"We try to do fundraisers, we do a golf tournament, just to let people know that we're out there," said Jim Sefick.
They are hoping to bring out even more competition to next year's tournament. For more information about the USPSA, visit powersoccerusa.org.