Circle City "Rolls" to First-Place Finish at the 2012 PowerBlast Power Soccer Tournament in Phoenix
The third adaptive sports tournament in as many weeks took place at the Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SpoFit) March 2 - 4, and the action did not disappoint. Nine power soccer teams from across the country were on hand to compete in the 2012 PowerBlast, with five from Arizona, two from California and one each from Indiana and Minnesota.
The squads were split into two pools. The San Jose Steamrollers were the No.1 seed in Pool A, while in Pool B the Circle City Rollers from Indianapolis claimed the top spot. Other teams included the Arizona Heat Destroyers, Arizona Heat Elite, Arizona State Sun Devils, Courage (MN) Blizzard, Desert Outlaws and the Glendale (CA) Rough Riders.
Katie Dickey, a member of the Sun Devils, has been playing power soccer for seven years. She and her younger brother Jordan were of Team USA for the sport’s international tournament in 2011 in Paris, France.
After a number of years playing on separate teams, Katie says having her brother to work with on the court creates a certain advantage.
“We have a lot of chemistry on the court, and we spend all our free time together. We’re really good friends and a lot closer than most siblings,” she says. “Sometimes we don’t even have to communicate as much on the floor, just because we know where each other will be.”
Jordan Dickey, ASU Sun Devils, was named MVP of Powerblast Power Soccer Tournament at SpoFit Center over the weekend of March 3rd, 2012, Photo by Michael McLoud.
Arizona Disabled Sports (AzDS) hosted the event. Manager Lane Jeppesen explains how teams must structure their games if they wish to compete in the post-season.
“Teams have to have two games against a conference team, and then 12 overall games to qualify to go to the National tournament. So, they can play ten games that are against any conference, from non-conference up to Premier Conference,” she says.
Many squads must attend tournaments outside their home area, like PowerBlast, in order to fulfill the qualifying criteria for Nationals.
Asked about which team was most likely to come away with first place, Katie was quick to peg the Rollers as a favorite. As natives of Indiana, she and Jordan are familiar with the Circle City team and handed them one of their most recent loses.
“They were our rival team back home and still are now. We still carry that rivalry, but they have won the National Championship for the past three years,” Katie says.
The Rollers’ reputation proved to be well deserved, as they swept their contests, allowing only two goals at most in any one game, while also shutting out the opposition more than once. Over the tournament’s first two days, Circle City outscored its opponents, 26-1.
One of the most physical and hard-fought contests of the weekend occurred on Sunday, between the Sun Devils and San Jose. At halftime, the score was 2-0 in favor of ASU, before the Steamrollers rallied with two points of their own. Despite rules against excessive chair contact, San Jose’s Omar Solorio drew a yellow card in the second half for a series of hard hits against Katie Dickey.
Ultimately, ASU and Circle City met in the championship game. The Rollers held a halftime lead of 3-0, which they did not relinquish. The final score was 3-1.
Mike Hayes, coach of Circle City, attributes the Rollers’ sustained success to the players’ level of commitment.
“I push them as hard as I can, and they always give me results. It’s more gratifying to watch those six athletes succeed in something they never thought could be possible,” he says.
Jordan Dickey, in his freshman season with ASU, made sure the team did not come away empty-handed, though, winning the tournament’s MVP award. He showed himself to be the consummate team player in his postgame interview.
“We were hoping for first, and we got second, but I’m just glad for the way we played. It’s our first tournament [this season], so we’re still working out the kinks. But, hopefully we can get it all together and start winning more. I wasn’t expecting [the MVP].”
The top three teams at tournament’s end were the Circle City Rollers, ASU Sun Devils and San Jose Steamrollers. ASU will travel to Santa Barbara for its next major competition in April, and Nationals will take place in Tampa, FL this June.
AzDS, a non-profit since 1989, sponsored the event. PowerBlast marked the first solo-sponsored event AzDS hosted at SpoFit.
Jeppesen hopes her organization can form a good working relationship with SpoFit going forward.
“I look at it as a partnership to continue to be able to provide [our] adaptive sports and recreation programs, utilizing this state-of-the-art facility,” she says. “AzDS encourages our athletes and individuals in our programs to have a membership and be involved in the SpoFit.”
For information on SpoFit memberships, programs and classes, visit spofit.org or call (602) 386-4566.
For information on AzDS programs and events, contact Lane Jeppesen at firstname.lastname@example.org.