Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Chris Finn, here’s what you should know about Chris…
Chris Finn caught the soccer bug at an early age. Growing up in Wisconsin, Chris spent most of his childhood and high school years participating and playing at a competitive level. But a freak accident at 21, which left him a quadriplegic, ended what he thought would be any chance to continue competing at the sport he loved. With little designs left in athletics, Chris finished school and began looking for a career. Little did he know his life would come full circle.
“I always wanted to get back in sports, but there was nothing for people to do in power wheelchairs,” he says. “I had moved out to California from Wisconsin, found out about a sport called power soccer, went to my first practice, and the minute I got on the court and hit the ball for the first time, I was hooked. I was like, this is where I want to be [and] what I want to be doing, and I found my passion for sports again.”
Although participating in power soccer – first as a player, then as a coach – would fulfill a personal absence felt since his injury, it also gave him an outlet to affect the lives of those around him. With a background in counseling, Chris was already prepared to think about the needs of others. Now he had an opportunity to bring the two worlds together.
“Before my injury I was always passionate about what I did out there, making a difference in people’s lives,” he says. “And after my injury I knew that I could still do that and I was just looking for my place. . . . [Power soccer] reinvigorated me with my life and gave me an avenue to make a difference in other people’s lives. And I wanted to be able to do the same and show people that there was a sport out there for people in power wheelchairs that they could actively and independently participate in.”
But Chris does more than participate – he inspires and succeeds. In 2007, his USA National Power Soccer Team won the inaugural World Cup in Japan. Today, he continues to coach while serving as Vice President of the Federation International de Powerchair Football Association (FIPFA), the international governing body of power soccer, and is a nationally-recognized speaker and author. For him, there’s little that holds him back.
“One of my taglines that I tell people all the time – through speaking and some of my writing – is that ‘You are able,’” he says. “You are able to do anything that you want to do as long as you believe and take action in what you’re doing. Power soccer is my passion, this is what I want to do. I put everything I had into the sport, and it took me to whole new heights. . . I dreamed that I would become a World Champion back when I was 10 years old, and look what happened. You are able to do what you want to do.”
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