In my post about the African Amputee Football Cup of Champions I made some comments about the size of the field and the lack of proper equipment for the team. I received an email from Jim Loudon former goal keeper for the USA national amputee soccer team. Mr. Loudon played in four amputee soccer World Cup tournaments, and is the only American goal keeper to have a shut-out in international play. He had the following to say about my comments:
The reason the field is smaller than a regulation soccer field is because the amputee game is seven a side instead of eleven a side. Smaller pitch for a smaller team. Anticipating your next question, no, I don’t know why they chose seven a side, but it’s what they play in the Paralympics, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that was a factor. Amputee soccer is not yet a Paralympic event, “but we’re working on it,” or so they say.
The comment “I’m sure the American amputee soccer team isn’t using one-size-fits-all crutches” drew a chuckle — as a matter of fact, the American team *ALWAYS* used one-size-fits-all crutches (Team USA went belly-up after the 2001 World Cup). As far as I know, Brazil is the only team regularly equipping its players with custom crutches. They use aluminum, btw.
So there you have it. Two things can be learned from this:
1) Ask a question on the internet and someone will answer you.
2) Don’t assume the richest country in the world can outfit the players who represent it with suitable equipment.