Against the Odds
Local soccer players, Adam Ballou and Jerreme Wade, share their stories of triumph over unique circumstances and heading to London to compete in the Paralympics
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Jerreme Wade, another Paralympics participant, hails from Chesapeake. When he was born he had a stroke, which also affected his left side. Six seizures a month were common for Wade prior to the life changing surgeries he had in 2009. After spending 29 days at VCU he’s able to celebrate a fourth year seizure-free. At Grassfield High School he played varsity football and soccer. Wade mobilizes both feet, but he is more conscientious and focused when scoring from the left.
He was scouted for the Paralympics when he coached at Chesapeake Select Soccer Club and another coach noticed his weaker left side at play. He was approached, and before he knew it he was training alongside the team at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. After seven weeks of training in Chula Vista, Wade believes they conjured a team chemistry that is hard to develop because each team member has their own schedule—with jobs and school—so they take full advantage of their training time together.
“I always thought when I was on the field that I had something to prove. I always wanted to work harder than the next man, but I feel like I’m on an even playing field. We all deal with the same adversity so we can push each other through,” Wade said.
After the Paralympics simmer down Wade will return to his routine—studying sports journalism at Tidewater Community College, working at the YMCA and Chili’s, coaching for club teams and still allowing time for his nonprofit work with the American Heart and Stroke Association.