Celebration of Para Soccer Also Includes Programming for U.S. Soccer Member Organization CP Soccer and U.S. Youth Soccer’s TOPSoccer
CHICAGO (Jan. 21, 2022) – U.S. Soccer’s first-ever #ADAPTandTHRIVE Invitational serves to showcase the sport of Para Soccer in the United States from the grassroots to the National Team. Held at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., the event marks the return to action for the U.S. Para Men’s National Team for the first time since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the first-ever national identification camp for the new U.S. Para Women’s National Team program. Both Para National Team camps are presented by Degree®, the program’s first-ever dedicated sponsor.
In addition, U.S. Soccer member organization CP Soccer, which organizes grassroots Para Soccer programming across the country, will hold sessions alongside the National Teams during the invitational. U.S. Youth Soccer’s TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) will also have a presence at the event.
Together, Degree® and the U.S. Para National Teams are working to advocate for more inclusive representation of what it means to be a “mover” and inspire future generations of athletes with disabilities to move with confidence.
This week is the first traditional training camp for the Para Men’s National Team since February 2020. Head coach Stuart Sharp called up a roster that features 10 players who helped the Para MNT take home the bronze medal at the 2019 ParaPan American Games in Peru, its last major international competition and first podium finish at the tournament.
Para Men’s National Team Roster by Position (Hometown) – Training and Identification Camp, presented by Degree®
GOALKEEPERS (3): Carter Alvey (Mount Washington, Ky.), Sean Boyle (Minneapolis, Minn.), Marc Estrella (Bakersfield, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Andrew Bremer (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Joshua Brunais (Stafford, Va.), Jacob Crumbley (Fortson, Ga.), David Garza (San Diego, Calif.), Jacob Kaplan (West Long Branch, N.J.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Adam Ballou (Virginia Beach, Va.), Chileshe Chitulangoma (Rochester, Minn.), Sam Holmes (St. Cloud, Minn.), Gavin Kohner (Phoenix, Ariz.), Benjamin Lindau (Chicago, Ill.), Nicholas Mayhugh (Gainesville, Va.), Kevin McCandlish (Jacksonville, Fla.), Kyle Montgomery (Woodbury, N.J.), Michel Tume (St. Paul, Minn.)
FORWARDS (4): Shea Hammond (Upper Montclaire, N.J.), Jonah Meyer-Crothers (Sylvania, Ohio), Michael Ruiz (Gilroy, Calif.), John Sullivan (Tucson, Ariz.)
Forward Nick Mayhugh, who won 2019 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year with a Disability for his efforts in Peru and at the 2019 IFCPF World Cup in Spain, returns to the Para MNT after winning three gold medals as a sprinter at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo last summer. A number of 19- and 20-year-old players are getting their first looks with the Para MNT in midfielders Chileshe Chitulangoma and Kevin McCandlish plus forwards Jonah Meyer-Crothers and Michael Ruiz.
This week also marks the debut of the Para Women’s National Team. Twelve players have been selected for this initial identification camp, which will be led by long-time U.S. Youth National Teams coach Tricia Taliaferro. Taliaferro currently serves as girls’ technical director for the Tampa Bay United Rowdies and has enjoyed a long career coaching in the college and youth game. Long-time Men’s PNT midfielder and captain Kevin Hensley will serve as an assistant coach for the Women’s PNT.
Para Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Hometown) – National Talent Identification Camp, presented by Degree®
GOALKEEPERS (1): Emily Hoffman (Conway, S.C.)
DEFENDERS (3): Michelle Cross (Orange County, Calif.), Joey Martin (Smyrna, Ga.), Peyton Skeels (Baltimore, Md.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Catarina Giumarae (Cranford, N.J.), Cassidy Leake (Murrieta, Calif.), Kat Renick (Safety Harbor, Fla.), Isabella Stankunas, Trappe, Pa.), Annie Wickett (Frederick, Md.)
FORWARDS (3): Leah Glaser (Montclair, N.J.), Rebecca Ostrander (Fortson, Ga.), Kortney Rentschler (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
The training camps kick off an important year for the Para National Teams, as IFCPF World Cup tournaments are scheduled for both the Para MNT and WNT this spring.
CP Soccer provides opportunities for players nationwide with cerebral palsy, a stroke or traumatic brain injury, building a grassroots pathway for Para Soccer across the country. The organization’s grassroots players are training at fields next to the National Teams, allowing youth players to see the top of the Para Soccer development pathway up close.
CP Soccer’s dedicated youth players were voted 2020 U.S. Soccer Players of the Year with a Disability after hundreds of participants came together virtually for more than 100 hours of training during the height of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in the United States.
Showcasing the breadth of disability soccer in the United States, U.S. Youth Soccer’s TOPSoccer will also hold a session at the event. TOPSoccer is a community-based training program for athletes with intellectual, emotional and/or physical disabilities to play the game in a safe, fun and supportive environment.