By Elissa Candiotti SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – A typical day for Peyton Sefick consists of an early morning breakfast, work email, and video games. However, the 26-year-old has accomplished quite a lot for his age, like competing in a World Cup competition, for example.
“Soccer runs my life,” Sefick said. “It means everything.”
While watching Sefick and his teammates play their favorite sport, there may not be a swoosh in the net or clumping cleats but it’s still soccer – in fact, wheelchair power soccer. The sport brings people with disabilities together from across the world and allows them to score big while showcasing their talents.
The Syracuse native was born with arthrogryposis, a physical disability that affects joints in his arms and legs, which ultimately led him to power soccer. Sefick was one of 12 members of Team USA in July 2017 who competed in the World Cup finals in Florida. The experience has left a lasting impact on Sefick.
“I’ve had a few months since the World Cup, and I still think about it every day,” Sefick said. “I don’t see that fading away any time soon.”
Although that major competition passed, Sefick practices power soccer each week with the CNY United Team at East Syracuse Elementary School. He refers to this team as his family and takes pride in all that they have accomplished through the sport.
“Whatever makes us happy is what we’re pulled towards, so that doesn’t change if you have a disability, invisible or not,” Sefick said. “Just because they seem to be at a disadvantage doesn’t necessarily mean they are at one.”
When Sefick isn’t playing soccer, he’s helping other people with disabilities find ways to participate in sports as the project coordinator at The Fitness Inclusion Network in Syracuse. Sefick’s journey of overcoming adversity certainly has not been easy, but it has allowed him to change the lives of many others and gain a new perspective on life along the way.
“Soccer has been instrumental in my life just to show me that I don’t really have limits when it comes to what I want to do,” Sefick said.