Members of the Tampa Thunder power soccer team, Ben Carpenter, Christopher Rhoades, Danny Gorman, Aaron Masterson, David Masterson, Andrew Gaiefski and Ryan Coton, pause for a photo, but are wasting no time as they are gearing up for the upcoming BraunAbility 2012 Premier Cup Championship scheduled for this June. 

Tampa Bay’s very own power wheelchair soccer team, the Tampa Thunder, is gearing up to bring home the BraunAbility 2012 Premier Cup Championship scheduled for this June.

Taking part in the tournament, and being among just nine teams from around the country who has a chance to compete as one of the premier level, is only part of the excitement for the relatively young program that has claimed a great measure of success within a short time. It boasts of its current No. 3 rating in the nation.

“Our eight-member team is inspired to host the event right here at home,” said program director Andy Chasanoff. “I am looking forward to a very good effort on the part of each player and, of course, ultimately bring home the trophy.”

Chasanoff was pleased to announce that Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation (PRC) will host the championship now scheduled from Friday-Sunday, June 15-17, from 8, at the All People’s Life Center, located at 6105 E. Sligh Ave. in Tampa.

Hillsborough County was awarded the bid to host the national tournament based on the strength and national recognition of the Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay, a signature program of the county’s PRC department, which provides year-round sports and recreation programs that promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles and recreational and competitive sports opportunities for area children and adults with physical disabilities.

Tournament coordinator Debbie Gorman explained that the Tampa Thunder is one of 120 teams in the country that rose to the top of the competition due to the dedication of the players and coaches.

“We are just so grateful for all the support that our players get, which gives them the opportunity to excel and to be recognized for their hard work.” Gorman said.   

Power Soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users.

The Tampa Thunder has played in more than 150 games and competed in more than 25 regional and national tournaments since 2004.

For more information, contact Chasanoff at 744-5307 or 892-0053.

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