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Team Preview - USA


Our third team preview looks at the most successful team on the planet in USA. Winning medals in all three Paralympic tournaments, “The Eagles” will be looking to add to their record with a win at the BT WWRC.


Currently ranked number 3 in the World, USA will have to negotiate tough tests against Canada, South Africa and New Zealand Wheel Blacks if they are to reach the knock out stages.


USA’s opening match against Canada is one of the highlights of the tournament. USA will be looking to avenge their 50-49 semi final defeat to Canada in the London 2012 Paralympics. With history stretching back to the beginnings of Wheelchair rugby, the original “Murderball” match will provide a great opening to the tournament.


The USA team is made up of decorated Paralympians, as well as some fresh new talent. In Josh Wheeler, Chuck Aoki and Chance Summer, the US team have match winners and experience. The characteristics of the team are composure and consistency. Their 6-0 series win over Japan at the Lakeshore Foundation last week showed this. The Eagles controlled each game to edge out Japan, ranked 4th in the world. Their composure saw them gain early advantage and made Japan chase hard.


Prior to the BT WWRC, the USA team make a trip to the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto. They will be expected to make the podium and use this as vital preparation on their road to Rio 2016.


One player who will be looking to light up the BT WWRC is Chuck Aoki. American Chuck Aoki played 11 years of wheelchair basketball before he switched over to wheelchair rugby in high school after seeing the film, “Murderball.” 


 He was attracted to the game by its constructive physicality and the brutal nature of the sport, and in no time found his niche as the USA’s top 3.5 player. He was named the US Quad Rugby Association’s Athlete of the Year in 2011, and then he helped his team to a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

 

Following that performance, he had the chance to meet President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC.

Aoki has used a wheelchair for most of his life due to a genetic condition in which he cannot feel anything below his knees, and when not on the court is studying to become a high school teacher.

He has quickly become well versed among the world’s media and in 2013 helped the USA regain the world No. 1 ranking by leading the team at the 2013 Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge.

 

USA’s fixtures:

  • 12th October: 5:30pm – Canada
  • 13th October: 2:00pm – New Zealand
  • 13th October: 7:45pm –South Africa

 

Are USA a team on the up? Do they have enough to get out of their pool? Let us know at @BTWWRC.


Images Source (Getty Images)