Get to know United States Deaf Soccer
Deaf soccer players, like any other deaf athletes, face difficulties when it comes to playing the game. They may have trouble hearing referees’ whistles, coaches’ instructions, teammates’ calls, and the crowd’s roar. However, there’s another, often overlooked, component to soccer that deafness can affect: balance.
Since soccer players are constantly on their feet and running for prolonged periods of time, they will definitely be tired and may find it challenging to maintain a good balance. This is something that hearing players probably take for granted, and likely have the upper hand with.
Fortunately, deaf soccer players have a unique league they can participate in. They can play for the U.S. Deaf Soccer men’s or women’s squads, which compete internationally. Under international rules, a deaf athlete must have an average hearing loss of 55 decibels or more in the best ear and hearing aids must be removed before competition.
The U.S. Deaf Soccer women’s squad is the 2005, 2009, and 2013 Deaflympics Gold Medal winners. The women’s team, led by captain Laura Yon, defeated Russia 2-1 in the Gold Medal match in 2013.
The men’s team, however, has not found the same success as the women’s team. The United States first entered a team in the Deaf Olympics in 1965, and placed tenth out of 10 teams. However, the growing popularity of soccer in the United States and the success of the United States World Cup team could potentially deliver a boost to U.S. Deaf Soccer men’s teams in the future.
Any aspiring soccer players who wish to try and play for the national team should visit the U.S. Deaf Soccer website: www.usdeafsoccer.com.