Tyler Hernandez '14 was devastated in late October when he got the call and learned that he was unlucky No. 13, and only 12 were chosen.
Hernandez, an elite power soccer player using his Strike Force wheelchair, had just missed making the United States squad for the 2015 World Cup. He was the last cut after the intense early October tryout camp in Indiana.
Then came another phone call, on Nov. 15, his 19th birthday. A player had to withdraw. Hernandez was invited onto the team. Suddenly, he had realized his dream of representing the U.S. on the national team.
Now a freshman at the University of Tampa who plays power soccer for the Tampa Thunder, Hernandez is bracing for a whirlwind of activity the next 11 months. There will be four national team training camps during 2015, beginning in January in Arizona. The World Cup is in October. It was initially scheduled for Brazil, but is now likely to be played in Canada or Australia.
During these 11 months Hernandez, who was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease as an infant, will be working to secure a spot in the lineup.
In power soccer, which is played indoors on a basketball court with four players a side, only eight players will be on the active roster for the World Cup. The other four U.S. team members will be at the ready to fill in if needed, and will receive medals if the team earns a Top 3 finish, but may not get to play in any games.
“I’m excited,” Hernandez said. “There’s a lot of work ahead, a lot of travel ahead, but I can’t wait.”
Click here to view a news segment about Hernandez from Katherine Smith of Bright House Sports Network.
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