CHICAGO (Sept. 1, 2016) – U.S. Soccer has released a new video series titled “One Nation. One Team. 14 Stories.” that shares the inspiring stories of all 14 players on the 2016 U.S. Paralympic National Team who will compete at the 2016 Paralympics, which runs from Sept. 7-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The exclusive video content featured on ussoccer.com and U.S. Soccer’s YouTube page provides fans an opportunity to hear each PNT players’ unique story, how soccer has helped them overcome their disability, and learn about their hobbies and interests away from the field.
Combining heartfelt stories with humor and real life challenges, these motivating videos share insight into the different personalities and backgrounds of the players on the U.S. team, which features athletes ranging from age 18 to 35, four current or former members of the U.S. military, five players diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP), four with traumatic brain injury (TBI), three who have suffered a stroke and two with a combination of TBI and stroke. The videos feature a wide range of material and topics that makeup “One Nation. One Team. 14 Stories.”
2016 U.S. Soccer Paralympic National Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Sean Boyle (Minneapolis, Minn.), Alex Hendricks (Columbus, Ohio)
DEFENDERS (3): Bryce Boarman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), David Garza (San Diego, Calif.), Gavin Sibayan (Denver, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Mason Abbiate (San Diego, Calif.), Tyler Bennett (Akron, Ohio), Steven Bohlemann (Weston, Fla.), Gregory Brigman (Harrisburg, N.C.), Josh Brunais (Stafford, Va.), Kevin Hensley (Memphis, Tenn.)
FORWARDS (3): Adam Ballou (Virginia Beach, Va.), Drew Bremer (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Seth Jahn (Lakeland, Fla.)
ONE NATION. ONE TEAM. 14 STORIES.
MASON ABBIATE – Midfielder – San Diego, Calif.
Mason was born 26 weeks premature with hydrocephalus when doctors told his parents he may never walk. He has since overcome cerebral palsy to play soccer in high school and is now the youngest player on the PNT.
ADAM BALLOU – Forward – Virginia Beach, Va.
Adam was born with cerebral palsy, but thanks to intense physical and occupational therapy, he was able to start playing soccer at the age of three. Having traveled all over the world with the team, he was inspired to pursue a career as a diplomat and recently completed an internship with the U.S. State Department in Madrid.
TYLER BENNETT – Midfielder – Akron, Ohio
Tyler grew up playing soccer all day, every day, but was 12-years-old when he suffered a ruptured artery, requiring multiple surgeries. After months of rehab, Tyler returned to the field to continue playing the game he loves.
BRYCE BOARMAN – Defender – Colorado Springs, Colo.
Bryce grew up a huge sports fan, wanting to play professionally just like his favorite athletes. Despite being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, his parents encouraged him to pursue his athletic dreams. A veteran of the team, Bryce recently graduated with his Masters in Sports and Exercise Science and hopes to land a job in sports.
STEVEN BOHLEMANN – Midfielder – Westin, Fla.
Steven played college soccer at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University until an accident during his junior year. While jogging at lunch, he was struck from behind by a bicyclist and suffered a traumatic brain injury among other significant injuries. Having since returned to the field, Steven deferred employment at UTC for one year in order to join the U.S. Paralympic National Team.
SEAN BOYLE – Goalkeeper – Minneapolis, Minn.
Last fall, Sean was a goalkeeper at San Jose State University until numbness began to spread throughout his body. Upon further review, doctors discovered a ventricular carnivorous malformation, which required immediate surgery. In less than a year’s time, Sean has established himself as one of the team’s two goalkeepers.
DREW BREMER – Forward – Grand Rapids, Mich.
Drew grew up in a sports-crazed family, often playing one-on-one games in the street with his brother. Although he was born with cerebral palsy, he plays soccer collegiately at Kalamazoo College and joined the U.S. Paralympic National Team last fall after seeing a tweet from the U.S. Women’s National Team supporting the squad.
GREGORY BRIGMAN – Midfielder – Harrisburg, N.C.
Gregory grew up in a football-obsessed family in a football-obsessed town, but broke away to play soccer after having surgery to lengthen his hamstring and Achilles tendon in second grade. Once in college, he discovered his passion for refereeing and now officiates in the Atlantic Coast Conference. After joining the team in March, he opted to leave his engineering job to focus full-time on making the roster.
JOSH BRUNAIS – Midfielder – Stafford, Va.
Ever since childhood, Josh has been passionate about soccer and the military. Once he reached high school, he put soccer aside to prepare himself to join the Army, where he would complete multiple missions overseas. In 2007, he was involved in a tragic helicopter accident, which left him in multiple braces for a long time. Josh left the military in July 2015 and now proudly represents his country on the soccer field.
DAVID GARZA – Defender – San Diego, Calif.
During David’s freshman year of college, he was involved in a serious car accident resulting in six major surgeries and a month-long coma. Thinking his international soccer dreams were over, he decided to represent his country by joining the Army. He is proud to be one of a small percentage of Hispanic officers in the military and defy the odds to represent his country on the international soccer stage.
ALEX HENDRICKS – Goalkeeper – Columbus, Ohio
Alex dreamed of wearing the U.S. Soccer crest as a child, but at the age of 12, a freak injury while playing futsal led doctors to discover a brain tumor. As a result, he underwent major surgery and was pronounced dead on the operating table twice. Alex eventually regained his soccer ability and has been a part of the U.S. Paralympic National Team for over five years.
KEVIN HENSELY – Midfielder – Memphis, Tenn.
Kevin grew up playing soccer all over the country, eventually joining the Olympic Development Program in Tennessee. In 2006, he collapsed after suffering a stroke at home, but continued to chase his passion for soccer. Now the captain of the U.S. Soccer Paralympic National Team, Kevin coaches youth soccer players when not representing his country on the international stage.
SETH JAHN – Forward – Lakeland, Fla.
Seth suffered multiple serious injuries while serving in the military, but none more so than an accident in east Afghanistan. He overcame the odds to make a full recovery and vowed to explore the world, having traveled to over 80 countries. Conquering the seven summits, competing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and pursuing higher education are just a few of Seth’s latest goals.
GAVIN SIBAYAN – Defender – Denver, Colo.
Gavin joined the Army in 2005 and was deployed one year later. During his time overseas, he was hit by three improvised explosive devices in 30 days. After returning home, he suffered two strokes and lost feeling in the right side of his body. His courage led him to pursue (and eventually secure) a roster spot on the U.S. Soccer Paralympic National Team.