PSA Supports CP Soccer
Most developed countries have a national soccer league for children with ambulatory cerebral palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury. The US does not. CP Soccer is changing that!
Founded by Ashley Hammond (PSA Coach) and Shea Hammond (PSA
SDFC '02 Elite Boys & US Paralympic 7-a-side National Team), CP Soccer
is for children with cerebral palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury. Unlike
the rest of the world, there is currently no structured league or network
for young players to access a developmental path to the Paralympics,
that is where CP Soccer stepped in. Ashley and Shea founded CP Soccer
in 2017 and have helped develop a network of teams and development
programs all over the US. Many other countries have a national network
of CP Soccer teams that function as a league, and enable people with
CP to participate in soccer from a young age through to adulthood.
England and Scotland, in particular, have very robust leagues, with every
major city sponsoring a local team. By contrast, the US has had no
league and therefore no access to CP Soccer for young people who love
to play. This is important because most kids who would qualify for
CP Soccer find they are not capable enough to continue playing on
competitive teams as they grow older and the level of play rises. They
can’t keep up with able-bodied peers, so they end up being pushed out of the sport. By creating a national league, CP Soccer is building a way for these kids to keep soccer in their lives.
Since inception in 2017, CP Soccer has helped develop 8 teams across the US (NYC, New Jersey, Mid Atlantic, Houston, South Florida, Atlanta, New England and North Texas). In addition to this they host an annual sleep away camp for CP Soccer players. For the past 6 weeks, every Monday through Friday, PSA Class of 2020 player, Shea Hammond, has conducted a daily training program for disabled players all over the country. Players with cerebral palsy, stroke or traumatic brain injury join Shea every day and train for an hour followed by a guest Q and A. Each day approximately 30-40 disabled players all train online, sometimes players from as many as 24 states have joined the feed.
The impressive list of guests spend time with the players each day and answer some great questions from the players. The guest list has included, Greg Berhalter, Bruce and Kenny Arena, Sacha Kleijstan, Aaron Long, Lori Lindsey, Yael Averbuch, Jordan Morris, Graham Zusi, Nick Rimando, Megan Oyster, Alexi Lalas, Brad Davies, Clemson University Para staff and FIFA referee Margaret Domka and all of the members of the US Mens Para team.
TAKING IT GLOBAL
This past Saturday, May 16th 2020, aided by his, father
Ashley Hammond, Shea Hammond conducted a live training
session for teams and players across the globe. With a
significant amount of effort calling and emailing at strange
times, CP Soccer managed to get CP teams from every
continent of the world to join in on Saturday morning's
historic “CP SOCCER GOES GLOBAL” training session.
Teams or players from all six habitable continents logged in
on the feed including; Brazil, Chile, Botswana, Bangladesh,
Egypt, Jordan, South Africa, The Netherlands, Belgium,
Ireland, England, Scotland and Australia.
When asked about organizational difficulties of the project, Shea said; “We have a player in South Africa who wants to join us but he doesn’t have a ball. We are solving that one as we are calling local stores in Durban who are partially open and we will purchase him a ball to go and pick up” Two new soccer balls were delivered to Siyabonga in Durban, South Africa, just 30 minutes before the live feed started, that's to Stuart Sharp, Anne Slatter and I-Care South Africa.
Watched by over 2,200 live on Facebook, and 110 players live on the zoom feed, the players and families were also graced with the presence of US Soccer president Cindy Parlow-Cone, who left everyone with a simple yet brilliant message, “Just have fun, always have fun”. Upon conclusion of the event, co-founder Ashley Hammond, commented, "CP Soccer Goes Global was made possible because of the efforts of Eli, Levi, Leah, Alisha, Jonathan, Gage, Jaclyn, Mallory, Lacey, Valerie, Shea, Skye, Stuart, Josh, Cindy, Sam, Tom, Evan, Anne, Jordan our numerous CP Soccer US city leaders and volunteers and so many incredible coaches, managers and parents from around the USA and WORLD that love our now world famous CP Football players! Thank you one and all and I cant wait to see you all again soon on the pitch!"