When we refer to “transportation” in the lead battery industry, most people think of the batteries that power engines in vehicles, trucks, trains and watercraft. But for one of our member companies, it’s all that and … soccer.
MK Battery, with the battery brand MK Powered, is the official battery of the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA) and its Team USA. Power Soccer is a sport played by those with disabilities who use battery-powered wheelchairs to play soccer. The USPSA governs the sport in the U.S., as well as promoting it internationally through events like the World Cup.
Wayne Merdinger, executive vice president & general manager for MK Battery, a subsidiary of East Penn Manufacturing Co., explains how MK Battery first got involved in 2014. He said it began by sponsoring a Power Soccer exhibition, and it has been a privilege ever since.
“We wanted to help promote the show and generate additional sponsorship support for USPSA. It’s a great cause that means so much to these very brave athletes and their families.” Wayne noted that MK Battery’s support is twofold: financial, and providing a battery product that is safe, reliable and the ideal fit for the rigorous use of the athletes’ electric wheelchairs.
“This is a challenging sport. It’s exciting to watch players use the speed and power of their chairs to attack, defend and spin-kick a 13-inch soccer ball across the gym.”
Power Soccer originated in France in the early ‘70s and was introduced to the U.S. a decade later. It is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users. Athletes may have quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy or other health issues. The game is played indoors on a regulation basketball court with two teams of four players.
“We love USPSA’s mission to help people of all ages and genders who use power wheelchairs to play and experience Power Soccer. Like any other team sport, it helps build character through teamwork, communication, hard work, perseverance and good sportsmanship,” Merdinger added.
Supporting athletes through Power Soccer is just one example of how the lead battery industry gives back to the community. To learn more about coaching, playing on a team, becoming a member, volunteering at events, becoming a sponsor or a fan, click here.