Vermont Chargers Power Soccer Club announced earlier today on Facebook that Jerome Durand had died. Durand was a member of the French national powerchair football team, who competed in this year’s inaugural EPFA Nations Cup. He is credited with helping spread the sport of powerchair football around the globe, and is the most decorated USA powerchair football player in history.
A French native, he hailed from a country that created the sport during the 1970s. Nicknamed Pika, he took up the sport in Paris the 1990s when he was 15 years old. He moved from his home country to the United States to help develop the game internationally and for better job opportunities around 2008. That year, he was a key member of the Atlanta Synergy, a powerchair football team in the United States, where he played for the team and as a head coach, and guided them to a second place finish in the national championships in 2008. Recently, he was affiliated with the Minnesota Shockwave in the Champions conference.
Durand was a key member of the French national team, and was with the team at the 2006 championships, the first international tournament in the world. He was again with the team in 2014 world championships, where he was one of the leaders on his team in scoring. He also encouraged French teammate Tristan Delmas to join him in the United States, where the two were roommates. Durand was working with others to try to get the sport, the only one in the world exclusively for powerchair users, on the Paralympic programme. He served as a radio commentator for last year’s U-18 Championships.
The Vermont Chargers said of Durand on Facebook, “The Vermont Chargers join the rest of the power soccer community in mourning the loss of power soccer legend, Jerome “Pika” Durand. Pika was instrumental in spreading the sport of power soccer across the globe. Pika was also tremendously influential in the growth of the Chargers. Our condolences go out to his family and best friend, Nicolas Dubes during this difficult time.”