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Power soccer teams honor former player - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Power soccer teams honor former player

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Wheelchair power soccer teams from all over New England competed in a tournament Sunday to honor and remember a former player.

Power soccer players remembered one of their own Sunday. "Just really fun-loving, very, very, competitive," said Nate Besio, a player with the Vermont Chargers.

The adaptive soccer squad honored their former teammate at the sixth annual Zach Stamatis Memorial Cup. Stamatis died in 2011 after complications from being hit by a car. The 20 year-old enjoyed playing power soccer in the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association. 

"He'd keep his jersey on almost all the time, and it meant so much to him, and he really embodies what the sport is all about -- about providing an opportunity and giving people an avenue to experience athletics," said Scott Goyette, the Head Coach for the team.

"We're very excited every year for the Zach Stamatis tournament because it brings so many teams together. We have teams from Montreal, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and everybody comes together for a great day of competition," said Betsy Grant, whose son plays on the team.

Also honored at this year's cup is Edward Goyette, a former squadron commander of the Green Mountain Boys. "One of our big supporters of our program, of power soccer happened to be my father who passed away March fifth, so we're dedicating this year's tournament to him as well," Scott Goyette said.

The tournament was held at the University of Vermont's Patrick Gym. The games are played with two teams of four, and an over-sized ball. "This tournament specifically gets better and better every year," said Jerry Boyd, a player with the Boston Breakers.  "It just goes to show how the sport has grown over the years in New England."

Parents and players say this adaptive sport gives competitors confidence during and after the games. "It helps people with physical disabilities say that they can do things just like everybody else does," Besio said.

"It gets really exciting to see that there's an opportunity for real competition, growth, team membership," Grant said.

Donations collected at the tournament will go toward the Vermont Charger's effort to play in the national power soccer competition in Indiana. 

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