The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department announced Sept. 24 that it is partnering with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Transition Hope to create the first competitive power soccer team in Central Texas.

The team is part of the department's adaptive sports program.

Power soccer is "the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for power wheelchair users," according to a release from the city.

Known as The Green Machines, the power soccer team had its first scrimmage Sept. 25 at the Clay Madsen Recreation Center against the San Antonio STRAPS Scorpions.

CPATH board President Victoria Polega said the nonprofit began in 2014 as a group of parents who organized playdates for their children who had cerebral palsy, a movement disorder. The organization grew larger, eventually offering educational workshops for school districts and businesses; medical equipment, such as a pediatric walker or a wheelchair free of charge; and basic-needs grants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Adaptive sports has always been something we've been interested in before COVID kind of hit us," Polega said.

The Green Machines, which get their name from the color of cerebral palsy awareness ribbons, had one practice before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Polega said this past summer, the team was able to hold practices and attend a power soccer conference in San Antonio, leading up to its first scrimmage in September.

"The energy was just incredible," Polega said. "They're a stronger team; they've got great teamwork; and they were so encouraging to our players who are very new and just learning how to play the sport."

Power soccer players include those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and other disabilities and those who have had a stroke or spinal cord injury, according to CPATH.

Green Machines players must be at least 5 years old and able to safely handle a power wheelchair on their own to participate on the team.

Tucker Waters, 19-year-old team captain of the Green Machines, said he learned about power soccer from a YouTube video.

When CPATH began to put a team together, he saw an opportunity to make one of his dreams a reality.

"That’s how things kinda got started, through friendships and CPATH," Waters said. "CPATH was always looking for wonderful things to do. I couldn’t think of a better partner. I am so very thankful for the efforts of every person who has pitched in to help make a seemingly impossible dream come true."

As team captain, Waters said he mostly works to keep players on the same page with coaching directions, and he enjoys keeping the team's energy up.

Polega said the team is in need of experienced referees and will fundraise to purchase Striker power chairs, which are commonly used in power soccer. Green Machine players use specially fabricated guards on their own chairs to engage with an oversized soccer ball, Polega said.

The parks and recreation department also offers adaptive sport clinics October through May to allow participants with different levels of need to play. More information is available on the department's website.