By Mark Ambrogi
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook got some very brief training in using a power wheelchair during a photo opportunity.
He’ll get a lot more soon.
“I’m excited to participate in the U.S. Power Soccer Association’s Mayor’s Cup and to welcome this remarkable group of athletes to Westfield and Grand Park,” Cook said. “It’s my hope that this event will help raise funding to support athletes with disabilities.”
Cook will join Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear and Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt in competing with the five United States National Power Soccer Team members from the Indianapolis area in the Mayors’ Cup from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 16 at the Grand Park Fieldhouse in Westfield. Athletes use power wheelchairs to play soccer indoors on a basketball court size-court. Following the Mayors’ Cup, the United States Power Soccer Association MK Battery Conference Cup Series will be held at Grand Park Fieldhouse June 16 through 18. There is no admission cost.
Natalie Russo, Carmel, is playing in her second World Cup for the U.S. She previously was on the 2007 USA team that won in Tokyo.
“The main reason is to help raise some funds for us,” said Russo, who plays for Circle City Rollers. “I think the awareness and getting it out to the public is a pretty good goal that we have. It’s not really a sport that is very well known to a lot of people, so getting some public figures involved is going to be good for the sport. Mayor Cook might have a little advantage because he was in the chair, but it was only for 10 minutes.”
Russo’s mother, Karen, is the World Cup chair. Russo hopes the Mayors’ Cup and Conference Cup Series will help draw more exposure and donations for the team’s effort.
“We wanted to showcase our athletes since it will be two weeks prior to them leaving, and we wanted to give them a good send-off,” Karen said. “We’re kind of the hub with five members here.”
Tom Dickey, who served as Director of Community Development for Fishers from 2012 to 2015, has two children, Katie and Jordan, on the World Cup team for the U.S. Dickey coaches a Power Soccer team called RHI Sudden Impact. Dickey, who lives in Pendleton, is now with the Carmel-based Hageman Group.
The other Cup players from the Indianapolis area are Case Calvert, Indianapolis and Michael Archer, Greenwood.