Players from the Tri State are heading to the Amputee World Cup in Poland

Sam Ryan Image
Thursday, August 31, 2023
U.S. amputee soccer team prepares to play overseas
AASA is now developing youth and women's teams. Sports anchor Sam Ryan has the story.

The United States is heading for another international soccer tournament, with a team you may not have heard of.

The U.S. Amputee Soccer Association is sending two teams for the first time ever to the Amputee World Cup in Poland.

The American Amputee Soccer Association (AASA) is sending two squads, a national team and a women's team, to participate in this year's @ampfutbol cup in Warsaw, Poland.

As part of the international tournament, which will be held September 16 to 17, the U.S. National Team will square off against Poland, England, Japan and Costa Rica. The tournament will also mark the first international competition for the AASA's new women's team, which will play Poland.

Several players on the team are from the Tri-State Area. Each athlete's story is different, but through the power of teamwork and confidence they were all brought together.

"My hope is to help our players embrace life with positivity, giving them the hope and encouragement to believe that they can lead fulfilling lives despite their challenges," AASA Coach Jim Franks said.

AASA is doing just that for people like Kayde Palmer who lost his right leg after a motorcycle accident in 2020.

"Before I found amputee soccer team, I was feeling low. Like, now I am fully disabled and there is no chance of me ever doing something that I enjoy doing," Palmer said. "But once I found the team, it gave me back a sense of purpose."

Nine-year-old David Kokrashvili lost his right leg in a devastating accident in his home country of Georgia last year. When his family relocated to the U.S., they discovered AASA. He was presented with his uniform Thursday.

"It was special," Kokrashvili said. "It was emotional, and I am so happy."

But the impact of AASA is felt beyond its players.

"He is doing very well after we got here," said Kokrashvili's father Irakli Kokrashvili. "And the tears are coming."

AASA is a nonprofit organization, and traveling to tournaments like the Amputee World Cup is expensive.

"We are always fundraising," said Kokrashvili's. "We're working with NYCFC, and they were nice enough to provide the uniforms that are guys are going to be wearing today."

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