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Delaware Valley Tornado Amputee Soccer Team
Makes Adaptive Sports History

Plays Tournament Head-to-Head v Two-Leggeds

History Makers

Team Members left to right are: Rick Hofmann, Sam Ingram, Lee Cohen, Manager Frank Whalen, and Captain and World Cup veteran Dave Marshall.

June 20, 1999, Yardley, PA - The Delaware Valley Tornado Soccer Club made history this weekend as the first amputee team ever to play in head-to-head competition against two-leggeds in a regularly scheduled soccer tournament.

The tournament, the national 3-V-3 Soccer Shootout, was held this weekend in Yardley, Pa.

According to team manager Frank Whalen, the decision to enter the tournament was unanimous. "It was really something we wanted to do.

"The registration form said 'all ages, all skill levels', so we decided to go for it, even though it had never been done before in formal competition."

Rick Hofmann, defenseman and Executive Director of the Amputee Soccer Association, said the team entered the tournament with specific goals.

Specific Goals

"Frist we wanted to be allowed to play. We had no idea what reception we'd get, since we didn't bother to mention we were an adaptive sports team when we registered."

"Second, we wanted to show other amputees that you can have a life, and you can have stretch goals, and you can compete with dignity - in any phase of your life.

"And third, we wanted to score a goal. We didn't have any illusions about tournament standings. Our competitors were a lot younger and faster. But we wanted to score at least one goal against the two-leggeds."

In the four game tournament the amp soccer team scored 8 goals against their "able-bodied" opponents.

Organizers Happy

Jim Tragone, organizer for the Philadelphia 3-v-3 tournament, said the Tornado's appearance was a positive for the tournament and for soccer in general.

"We were all very impressed with the amputee soccer team," he said. "Word got around the tournament in a hurry that there was a team playing on crutches on field 23.

"Our referees were impressed with the toughness these men showed and their competitors were impressed with their willingness to play on the same field as everyone else, and with the competitive nature of their play.

"To have them play in our tournament was very, very good all around. It showed both the younger players, and their parents, what the human spirit can do. More than anything else, though, I think this team showed everybody that this game should be fun."

Team Captain Dave Marshall said the team is preparing not only for the Philadelphia tournament next year, but also for competitions in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Albany.


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