CP Soccer named Players with a Disability of the Year at US Soccer AwardsNews
By Ashley Hammond IFCPF Communications Officer (Americas)
In such a challenging year throughout the world CP Soccer US claimed the 'Players with a Disability of the Year' title at the annual US Soccer player awards, which is the first organisation to ever be victorious in this category.
With few teams playing and competing in the year that was 2020 CP Soccer thrived with a full season of online training and playing. With hundreds of US based players and thousands of international players taking part.
CP Soccer was supported by US Soccer with guest appearances from the very top brass at US Soccer and numerous current and former internationals stopping by for some fun on the zoom sessions. The reward for the effort of the players was to be nominated for the coveted 'Player with a Disability of the Year' award. In an effort to surprise the players, US Soccer convened a post season, Zoom call to make the announcement. Nick Mayhugh the previous year winner was invited to make the presentation.
As the top US player Nick is a well known star among the players. Nick has also spent time working with the junior players at camps and at the Mid Atlantic CP program. With a dominant performance in the 2019 World Cup Nick was a worthy winner in 2019 and was delighted to be a part of recognizing the numerous CP players that joined the Zoom session to receive the award. The players were in store for one more treat as the previous winner of the mens 'Player of the Year' from 2019 also made a surprise appearance. Fresh off a wonderful performance for Chelsea the previous day, Christian Pulisic broke away from his relaxing day off to pop on the call and congratulate the CP team.
With a wonderful speech highlighting the events from the season Nick finally broke the news to the players. Rapturous applause and cheering from otherwise muted screens was audible and the previously unknowing players were able to celebrate a truly incredible award. Forever etched on the US Soccer web site CP Soccer made history by being the first “group” of players to win the award.
“We were very excited just to be nominated, winning is incredible” said an excited Shea Hammond Co-founder of CP Soccer and US National team player. “The players were relentless. They showed up every day all season and trained so hard” added Shea.
Levi Haliwell another Co-founder and CP player was equally as excited about the award. “I’m so proud of all of the CP Players. When we first started I never imagined that CP Soccer would get big enough for US Soccer to recognize us. I really can’t believe it”
US Soccer’s announcement was no surprise to US Mens National team head coach Stuart Sharp. Stuart spear headed US Soccers support for the online program regularly joining sessions to give coaching advice and tips to players as well as leading some sessions.
"The Player with a Disability of the Year Award is usually reserved for a National Team player who has represented their country at an exceptional level during international competitions, but of course, 2020 did not allow for the competitive opportunities that we had hoped. However, US Soccer's challenge was still to present the award while staying true to the criteria of skill, commitment, and proudly flying the nation's flag.
It then became apparent that they must recognize not one player but a group of girls and boys who have represented their country with commitment and skill each day despite the challenges 2020 and lockdowns have present. The players who participated in CP Soccer US's programming were for me a personal high point in my soccer year, and I know for a fact have inspired many at all levels of the game in the US." CP Soccer works with players across the US and will commence its winter training program in the middle of January.
Having led the 2020 season Shea enthused about what the winter program will look like;
“Our winter season will again be on Zoom until we are allowed to regularly meet in person, but working with the players online is still fun as they just work so hard. It is also nice to see the players in all sorts of different places. From the mountains of Colorado to the beaches in California and the beauty of the Midwest we have a tremendously diverse group that train together on zoom from literally all over the country”
For more information or ideas on how to reach your athletes and train online, email CP Soccer Co-founder Ashley Hammond firstname.lastname@example.org CP Soccer US 2020 US Players with a Disability of the Year.