Athletes booted balls past the goalie and hounded one another into the corners of Verdugo Gym in a series of fierce matches at Glendale Community College this weekend, but this was no ordinary sports event.
The college hosted its first-ever Glendale Invitational Power Soccer Tournament, with wheelchair-bound players from Santa Barbara, Hollister and Tempe, Ariz., in town to do battle.
Most of the players are developmentally disabled. Others lost their mobility in auto accidents. But that doesn't stop them from mixing it up in a sport sanctioned by the United States Power Soccer Assn.
Players spun tight 180- and 360-degree turns to build momentum to slam the ball downfield, using metal cages that protect their feet to strike the ball. Goalies worked their wheelchairs furiously into reverse and forward motion as they anticipated shots on goal.
The Glendale Rough Riders, one of two local teams, won the first match in its three-year history Saturday, topping a Santa Barbara team 6-1 to kick off the tournament.