CHICAGO (July 9, 2018) – U.S. Soccer will host the 2018 Para 7-a-side Invitational from July 19-21, 2018 at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The Invitational competition features the Paralympic National Teams of Australia, Canada and the United States. The U.S. Paralympic National Team will open the tournament on July 19 against Australia and will have a rest day before facing Canada on July 21.
The tournament marks the first chance for the U.S. to play international matches since the IFCPF (International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football) adjusted the player eligibility rules for the sport of Para 7-a-side Football. The changes in the rules, which were first officially communicated in January 2018, will notably change the make-up of the U.S. line-up, which had helped the team rise to fourth in the IFCPF world rankings.
U.S. Paralympic National Team head coach Stuart Sharp will use the event as critical preparation for the 2018 IFCPF Copa America, which takes place Oct. 12-21 in Natal, Brazil. It also marks the first time the Para team has hosted multiple international teams for an event in the United States.
"Organizing these games at this time will be extremely beneficial for us to test ourselves against international competition ahead of the Copa America in October," said U.S. Paralympic National Team head coach Stuart Sharp. "We've recruited quite a few new players and have created a completely different game model from what we've been using across the past four years.
"Both Canada and Australia will provide a very different style of opponent, and this will be key to the preparation of the squad moving forward. The players are feeling confident about what is in front of them in the coming months and are eager to get out on the field in what will be the first international competition for most of them since we finished fifth at last year’s World Championships in Argentina."
Fans and spectators are welcome to attend the matches at the EATC facility and can access the games through the main facility entrance at 2800 Olympic Parkway in Chula Vista, Calif. Additional information on the U.S. Paralympic National Team and their tournament preparation is available on Twitter @ussoccer_pnt.
2018 Tri-Nation International Challenge Schedule
Date Match Time (PT)
July 19 USA vs. Australia 5 p.m.
July 20 Australia vs. Canada 5 p.m.
July 21 USA vs. Canada 5 p.m.