The U.S. Paralympic National Team is currently playing in the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championship in San Luis, Argentina (Sept. 5-24).Head coach Stuart Sharp named a 14-player roster for the tournament with four new players joining the squad from last summer’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
“We’re ready to go. The first game couldn’t come quick enough,” Sharp said. “We’ve brought in some new players who bring attributes we did not have nine months ago and the players who we had in Rio have significantly added to their game. We’re ready to step on the field, line-up, hear the national anthem and get that first game underway.”
Included on the roster is midfielder Gregory Brigman from Harrisburg, NC, who was born with cerebral palsy. After surgery at a young age, Brigman played soccer at the youth and high school level. He graduated from the University of North Carolina Charlotte with a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
He is currently a National Collegiate Referee in North Carolina and officiates games for Middle School, Youth Club, High School, College, and recently games at the lower Professional Levels.
Paralympic National Team – IFCPF 2017 World Championships
|1||Abbiate, Mason||M||5-6||147||06/24/1998||San Diego, Calif.|
|2||Ballou, Adam||D||5-8||150||05/29/1992||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|3||Bennett, Tyler||M||5-9||170||06/27/1992||Wadsworth, Ohio|
|4||Boarman, Bryce||D||6-0||150||08/29/1990||Colorado Springs, Colo.|
|5||Boyle, Sean||GK||6-3||195||03/27/1995||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|6||Bremer, Andrew||M||6-2||190||11/22/1995||Grand Rapids, Mich.|
|7||Brigman, Gregory||D||5-5||160||02/27/1987||Harrisburg, N.C.|
|8||DeLillo, Cameron||F||5-9||134||12/16/1999||Blandon, Pa|
|9||Estrella, Marc||GK||5-6||154||02/20/1999||Bakersfield, Calif.|
|10||Garza, David||D||6-3||185||04/24/1993||San Diego, Calif.|
|11||Hensley, Kevin||D||6-2||185||05/24/1992||Memphis, Tenn.|
|12||Jahn, Seth||F||6-3||212||12/25/1982||Lakeland, Fla.|
|13||Lindau, Benjamin||D||5-10||156||12/06/1998||Chicago, Ill.|
|14||Mayhugh, Nicholas||M||6-0||155||02/27/1996||Manassas, Va.|
The roster additions of Cameron DeLillo, Marc Estrella, Benjamin Lindau and Nicholas Mayhugh already made waves in the PNT’s international challenge matches earlier this year. In a June match against Chile, both Mayhugh and Lindau recorded their first international goals, two apiece, during a 10-0 rout. DeLillo started all four of the team’s matches this summer, notching three goals and three assists. Estrella has also appeared in each of the team’s 2017 matches.
The newcomers arrived with some impressive credentials. Mayhugh plays soccer at Division I Radford University. Last year, he helped the Highlanders to their first sweep of the Big South regular season and tournament titles as well as their second consecutive NCAA tournament bid. Lindau plays club soccer for Chicago Fire Juniors – City.
The USA enters the tournament with its best world ranking at No. 6. Group D will see the red, white and blue face reigning Paralympic champion and world No. 1 Ukraine, No. 13 Northern Ireland and No. 16 Australia. It’s the most difficult group in the tournament based on average world ranking. The PNT opens play on Sept. 11 against Australia at 5 p.m. ET.
A seventh-place finish at last summer’s Paralympics earned the USA a spot in this summer’s World Championships. The field features all eight squads from last summer’s tournament in Rio as well as eight teams from the 2016 IFCPF World Championship Qualification Tournament. This competition marks the start of a new four-year cycle. Advancement to the knockout rounds means a top-eight finish and qualification for the most important competition of the cycle: the 2019 IFCPF World Cup in Pinto, Spain.
The U.S. PNT heads to the World Championships touting a four-match unbeaten streak during which they garnered a plus-18 goal difference. June saw the team travel to South America to face Chile and come away with two big victories: 6-0 and 10-0. In July, the team hosted its first home matches since 2014 against Canada in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., scoring two positive results with a 2-2 draw and 3-1 victory.
The Paralympic National Team is made up of players that have a neurological condition such as a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or cerebral palsy (CP). Athletes are categorized into four classes based on their impairment level from FT5 to FT8. Teams are currently only allowed to have one FT8 player on the field at a time and must have at least two FT5 or FT6 players on the field. Classification of athletes will take place Sept. 5 to Sept. 9, prior to the tournament’s first matchday on Sunday, Sept. 10.