MISSION: UCP WORK, Inc. is dedicated to providing services to residents of the Tri-Counties with mental and/or physical disabilities, so that they may work and live independently as contributing citizens within the community of their choice.

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Rollin' Rebels Power Soccer Team receives $40K donation to fund new Strike Force Chairs

By Rae van Seenus on Aug 07, 2018 at 05:19 PM in UCP Work Inc Blog

Eight participants from UCP WORK, Inc., the largest agency on the Central Coast for programs and services for people with developmental disabilities, celebrated last Sunday at the unveiling of four new Strike Force power wheelchairs, a generous gift from a local donor.  Each chair costing $10,000, has been on the team’s wishlist for some time, because the Strike Force is known as the “Ferrari” of power wheelchairs and is said to outperform every other chair on the market.  It’s designed with a low center of gravity, wide wheelbase, customized center mount joystick, and is able to spin kick with more power than any other power wheelchair. Before receiving this gift, the team had lost the majority of their games using outdated slower chairs. 

The Rollin’ Rebels has players with varying disabilities, both male and female, ranging in age from 14-55, and is coached by Dan Weiner.  Weiner has 22 years of experience coaching Special Olympics and former life skills coach for UCP WORK, Inc.  The Rollin’ Rebels team was founded in 2012 by Coach Weiner, Brian MacLaren, Team Captain, and other players who were previously on the Rollin’ Gauchos team, which disbanded a few years ago.  Starting in the Fall, Weiner and his team will practice every Saturday from 10am-1pm in the gymnasium at Carpinteria Middle School. The Rollin’ Rebels will also travel to overnight tournaments to compete throughout California starting in December.  On the team are Genevieve Werner, Gustavo Ritterstein, Brian MacLaren, Ulices Arreola, Connor Biggerstaff, Mark Richard MacLaren, Gus Albertsen, Juan Rodiguez, and Brian Crews, his teammates call him “Cruise”.  Genevieve, 18, will be attending Cal Lutheran University this year, so Coach Weiner may be in need of one new player.

Power soccer is a growing sport played in 20 different countries where athletes with disabilities use their power wheelchairs equipped with guards to hit an 13”-18” leather soccer ball around an indoor basketball court.  The game is played by two teams using special footguards attached to powered wheelchairs as “feet” to kick the large ball.  The object of the game is to maneuver the ball over the goal line of an opposing team while preventing them from doing the same. There are referees and yellow cards, similar to a typical soccer game. 

When asked why he chooses to coach a Power Soccer team, Weiner explained, “It’s because the game gets players that wouldn’t otherwise be in competitive sports to get out there and play, plus it gives them complete independence.”  

The Rollin’ Rebels is sponsored through the program services of UCP WORK, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Because the cost to travel and play is high, support from the community is invaluable in keeping the Rollin’ Rebels playing.  To donate, e-mail donate@ucpworkinc.org or visit http://www.ucpworkinc.org/ways-to-give.

Power Soccer New Strike Force Chairs