Japanese teenager meets idol in Fort Wayne with help from Make a Wish Foundation

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Teams from around Indiana and the Midwest traveled to Turnstone in Fort Wayne for the Summit Class Tournament, including a Japanese teenager who showed up to play, but not compete.

Power soccer is a para-athletic league where the soccer players compete four-on-four in wheelchairs with a 13 inch soccer ball. Michael Archer plays for the Indianapolis-based team the Circle City Rollers as well as the USA national team. He has played in plenty of matches in his life but a scrimmage match with Japanese player Taiyo Miyawaki, 17, who traveled over 6,000 miles to play, is what made this year’s Summit Classic memorable.

“The Make a Wish Foundation reached out to me a couple months ago that they had Taiyo that wanted to meet me,” said Archer.

Miyawaki is battling a neuromuscular disorder. He got started with the sport watching Japanese teams but began following American teams as well after seeing online how fast their games move.
“[I am] pleased with speedy game and lots of points, [I} was surprised, than Japan,” Miyawaki said through translator Haruki Masuda.

Miyawaki said it was a cool opportunity for him, but it also meant a lot to Archer.

“It’s great to know that the sport has reached out to so many different countries and the fact that people like Taiyo look up to other athletes, high-level athletes, like myself and other athletes around the world, it’s great for the sport to have that recognition,” said Archer.

Archer said he was impressed by Miyawaki’s skills on the court. Miyawaki hopes one day he will be able to compete professionally in the world of power soccer.

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