A Monticello High School senior is one of three Minnesotans representing Team USA in the Power Wheelchair World Cup, a global soccer tournament for disabled athletes. With no major sponsors, getting there presents a new set of problems, so he’s selling his own belongings to make the trip.
The tournament's location has yet to be determined, but a 3-day garage sale will start outside Nathan Mayer's house in Becker Township early Wednesday morning. He's an impressive athlete and an entrepreneur.
“Yeah, I got a chair, but my family and friends, they look past the chair they see me,” Mayer said.
Mayer's pure desire and his power wheelchair keep him on top of his game.
“I've been in love with sports ever since I was little and this is a sport I can play at a very high level,” he said.
Aside from speedy wheelchairs, the rules are slightly different from soccer. It's 4-on-4 on a hardwood floor, there's no net, and the ball is twice the size.
“It gives me the independence that I was looking for,” Mayer said.
The 17-year-old recently made the national team, which is scheduled to compete against the best players across the globe next summer.
Nathan's dad say, his son has played this way since he was 7 years old because he lives with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic condition that weakens his muscles.
“When Nathan was first diagnosed, I thought I lost an opportunity to coach my son,” said his dad, Tracy Mayer.
Doctors said he would only live until age 2, but since then, he's exceeded all expectations, including his dad's.
“I’ve been able to teach him and train him, and share some pretty neat highs with him,” Mayer said.
Making the team was one challenge, but now he's trying to get to the actual competition. Power wheel chair soccer continues to grow in popularity, but without sponsors, everyone on the team is paying their own way.
Now, they’re getting ready for a 3-day garage sale hoping to clear some clutter, and he isn’t taking the opportunity to play for granted.
“I live each day to the fullest, and plan to do that for the rest of my life,” the teen said.
He is already half way to his $20,000 goal. He wants to meet all his supporters in person, so he is intentionally avoiding internet funding sites.
Garage sale hours
Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
16949 Riverview Circle SE