Nathan Mayer has fulfilled his lifelong goal of becoming the goalie for the USA Power Soccer Team, but now that he’s checked off that goal, don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon.
Mayer is just 21-years-old and he’s living his dream. When he was seven-years-old he knew he would be a power soccer player, but he had no idea he would be competing at the national level.
For those of you like myself, power soccer is a new concept. Mayer explained his sport with joy and ease.
Power soccer is soccer for people with disabilities, it’s played four on four, the rules are basically the same as regular soccer, but they have a few differences and instead of playing on turf, power soccer is played on a basketball court.
“We have a few small changes, but we try to keep it as much like regular soccer as we can,” Mayer said. “One of the small differences is our two on one rule. Two defenders cannot be on one offender. So, it’s meant to open up the floor and create passing lanes.”
Now he travels all over the globe competing. He couldn’t be anymore pleased with how things turned out.
However, Mayer is his own worst critic.
You would think the athlete would be proud of his feat and bask in the glory for a moment, but instead Mayer has only set bigger and better goals for himself.
At eight-months old Mayer was diagnosed with Type Two Spinal Muscular Atrophy. A disease that restricts him to a wheel chair and left everyone thinking he would never be able to play sports. Clearly, he had other plans for himself.
He fell in love with sports at six years old.
“I wanted something more competitive and more interactive, something I could do more on my own,” Mayer said of power soccer. “I went to my first practice and fell in love.”
Here’s where his journey really started.
In 2016, after Mayer graduated from Monticello High School, he made the top 8 USA Power Soccer team.
“I just wanted to make the top 12, I had no idea I would make the top eight,” he said.
Shortly after that, he made the starting four team and was officially the starting goalie for Team USA.
In 2017 he lead his team to the FIPFA World Cup in Kissimmee, Florida and took home the Silver Medal to wrap up the season.
Next season, he was re-elected for the USA National Power Soccer team in 2018. This is where Mayer set his next goal. Would you expect anything less? He was working to qualify for the next World Cup in 2021.
Just recently, in early August, he traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the COPA Americas Cup and his USA National Power Soccer Team took home the gold and qualified for the 2021 World Cup in Sydney, Australia. He had checked off another larger than life goal.
“It’s been amazing to represent my country and represent Monticello,” he said. “But that next goal (winning the 2021 World Cup) is still out there. And that’s what keeps me going.”
In October tryouts will be held in Monticello at the middle school for the next World Cup. That’s what Mayer is working towards now.
At the end of the day Mayer is an outstanding athlete, but he is also just like any other 21-year-old.
He attends the University of Minnesota and is pursuing a degree in product design. He’s going into his senior year and looks forward to graduating.
Mayer is also an intern at Best Buy here in Monticello and he hopes to earn a full time job with them after graduation.
The USA Power Soccer goalie expressed that everything in his life is a team effort, not just when it comes to soccer.
“My family is everything,” he said. “It really is a team effort when it comes to my journey. Whether that’s soccer, life, or school, or anything. I cant do it by myself.”
Mayer will always be setting fresh new goals when it comes to power soccer, but one of his recent goals – and possibly his biggest goal yet – is his duty to spread awareness about people with disabilities.
“I want to help people realize that people with disabilities are people too,” Mayer said. “If I can help the next person to see that point of view, that’s really cool for me. I want to show people what we can do.”
Reach Jessie Meyen at firstname.lastname@example.org