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U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team Begins Play Sunday for CPISRA 7-a-Side World Championships in the Netherlands

Team Practices in Holland for Group D Opening Match against Japan

CHICAGO (June 15, 2011) – The U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team begins play on Sunday, June 19 at the CPISRA 7-a-side World Championships in the Netherlands. The team is currently in Holland practicing for their Group D opening match against Japan.

The USA opens the 16-team tournament in Assen before facing Iran on June 21 in Emmen, Netherlands. The USA rounds out Group D play against Ireland on June 23 in Hoogeveen. The tournament continues throughout June with a winners and losers bracket competing to determine the top 16 teams.

“The goal is to qualify for the 2012 Paralympic Games, and there are seven places available, making the first round of games really important,” said head coach Jay Hoffman. “The preparation has stepped up and the intensity has been super. We feel we have a good opportunity here, and we feel the momentum from Copa America will carry over.”

The USA earned a spot at the World Championships earning impressive results against Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela.

The top seven teams in the tournament will join the United Kingdom at the 2012 Paralympic games in London. Both England and Scotland are participating in the World Championships, but at the Paralympics both nations will play as part of the UK host team. As such, the top seven teams at the World Championships, excluding England and Scotland, will qualify for the London games.

Paralympic soccer is played seven-a-side on a smaller field and with smaller goals than non-disabled soccer. Each team plays with seven men using the International Federation of Associated Football (FIFA) rules which have been slightly modified to accommodate the disabilities of the athletes.

To be eligible for Paralympic soccer, athletes must be ambulatory and have a diagnosis of non-progressive brain damage that is associated with motor control dysfunction such as Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury or stroke. More information about eligibility and the classification of athletes is available at the CPISRA website.

CPRISA 7-a-Side World Championships
Group D Schedule

Date   Match   Time (ET)  Venue 
June 19  Iran vs. Ireland  11 a.m.  Achilles Stadion; Assen, Netherlands 
June 19  USA vs. Japan  1:30 p.m.  Achilles Stadion; Assen, Netherlands 
June 21  Iran vs. USA  11 a.m.  Stadio SC Angelslo; Emmen, Netherlands 
June 21  Ireland vs. Japan  1:30 p.m.  Stadio SC Angelslo; Emmen, Netherlands 
June 23  Japan vs. Iran  1:30 p.m.  Achilles Stadion; Assen, Netherlands 
June 23  Ireland vs. USA  1:30 p.m.  Stadion VV De Weide; Hoogeveen, Netherlands