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Kicking for a Cause: Wounded Warrior Soccer Fundraising Event

Germantown Pulse, Germantown Md, Germantown News

By Kevin O’Rourke

Residents will have a rare opportunity to watch a unique soccer team play a unique version of “the beautiful game” this weekend at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

The team will be made up entirely of players that are missing one leg. The American Amputee Soccer Association will hold a practice weekend and final tryouts for the United States National Amputee Soccer Team. According to Rick Hoffman, vice president of the American Amputee Soccer Association, players from all around the country will be vying to represent the US in the Amputee Soccer World Cup in Mexico this December.

The Wounded Warrior Soccer and the Maryland SoccerPlex is hosting the event which will include a charity tournament and game between the USNAST and a which is what Hoffman termed “a traditionally configured” adult mens soccer team, -- meaning they have both legs -- at the SoccerPlex. Originally, the game was to be played against the Liberian National Team, but the match had to be postponed due the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The game is part of a fund raising event by the Wounded Warriors Soccer Program. The event will include a Small Sided Tournament which will feature local soccer teams, many of which play in the SoccerPlex regular adult leagues competing in small-sided, or seven-vs-seven games from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, according to Thomas Goubeaux , the chief operation officer of the Wounded Warriors Soccer Program.

The USNAST game will begin at noon. Admission to all events is free, but donations will be accepted and the event will include fund raisers. The tournament and game will take place on Fields 20 and 21 at the SoccerPlex.

While the A.C. Montgomery team will have both legs, they won’t be allowed to use them, according to Hoffman. “While we will often put the other team on crutches, this time they’ll be playing high-sock, low sock, meaning the can only kick with the low-sock foot and will have to touch the ball twice before passing. It levels the playing field a bit.”

“The AC Montgomery guys are getting a little scared,” said Goubeaux, who is a long-time referee at SoccerPlex games. “I sent them some videos of the USNAST guys playing, and they are getting nervous. There are real athletes on that team.”

According to Goubeaux, the six tournament teams and corporate sponsors have covered the cost of the holding the tournament and any funds raised at the event will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.