Scoring spot with Canada within grasp

Eight years ago Daniel Cunningham was introduced to power chair soccer and fell in love.

Daniel Cunningham is among those currently being scouted for a position on Canada’s national team that will travel to Paris

Daniel Cunningham is among those currently being scouted for a position on Canada’s national team that will travel to Paris

Eight years ago Daniel Cunningham was introduced to power chair soccer and fell in love.

He is not a multi-sport athlete but possesses a drive that shines through when playing soccer.

“I enjoy the competitive aspect the most,” said Cunningham, a Pen High student. “I’m a very competitive person.”

Cunningham is a member of the Okanagan Thunderchairs and is on the verge of playing the sport at its highest level. In 2008, he captained the Thunderchairs while in Arizona during the Western Regional U.S. National Qualifying tournament.

Recently, Cunningham participated in the eighth B.C. Storm Power Chair Soccer tournament annually hosted by Penticton which added a national division. Players in that division are vying for a spot on Canada’s national team that will go to Paris, France for the World Cup. Cunningham helped the Red Rolls Royces defeat the Blue Beamers. He, along with other players, were given microphones to help them communicate. Gordon Marks, coach of Canada’s national team, said Cunningham and Kelowna’s Ian Wright are the lone Okanagan athletes with a solid chance of representing their country.

“They both have accurate shots, both play their position well,” said Marks. “ (Daniel) He was doing very well at that (as goalie). He’s a pretty aggressive player. He tried out some new equipment so he could be heard better. I think that gave him some more confidence.”

Cunningham is full of excitement for the opportunity that lies ahead.

“It will be fun and much more practice to put in,” said Cunningham, who added four hours of time from his usual hour and a half a week. “The four hours has helped my game play and I have improved a lot.”

This week Cunningham heads to Montreal where some players will earn their spots on the Canadian team during a four-team tournament, part of the Defi Sportif, which attracts athletes from elite to newcomers with all types of disabilities from April 26 to May 1. Team Canada will be chosen by May 15 from the players in that tournament.

“It’s going to be very hard,” said Marks of the selection process. “It’s very hard to pin point exactly which ones will be moving ahead.”

Marks has familiarity with some of the athletes who he remembers as kids and knows the time they have put in. Marks was pleased with how things went in Penticton.

“Good to see they had lots of interest from B.C. players to try out,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting as many.”

When it comes to traveling to Quebec, Marks sees this as an opportunity for the players and views it as a great chance to help the sport grow in Canada, especially with it being the first time Canada is sending a team to the World Cup, which was created in 2007. “It’s quite exciting that way,” he said.


Just Posted

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Black smoke can be seen rising from the mountain

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read