[2013 DEAFLYMPICS] The U.S. deaf women's national team aims to win a third straight gold medal at the 2013 Deaflympics July 26-Aug. 4 in Bulgaria. Midfielder Kate Ward shares 11 things you should know about the U.S. team ...
1. All of the players have a hearing loss of 55 decibels or more in the best ear.
2. We are reigning world champions, having won back to back gold medals in the 2005 Australia Deaflympics and 2009 Taipei Deaflympics. We also won the 2012 World Football Championships in Ankara, Turkey.
3. We are traveling to Sofia, Bulgaria, in late July to participate in the 2013 Deaflympics. Our goal is to win our third straightgold medal.
4. Although a majority of us use hearing devices, some of us don’t; so we communicate in various ways: talking, lip-reading, signing, or a combination of the three.
5. All players competing in deaf matches must remove all hearing aids before playing. This creates two important obstacles that hearing players don’t face: communication and balance. In case you were wondering, all the refs use flags instead of a whistle.
6. The age range is 15-28.
7. The players participate on elite teams all over the USA and the world. These teams include professional teams both overseas and in the USA, Division 1 college teams, elite club teams and Olympic Development teams.
8. The women on this team live very normal and successful lives. The perseverance and determination of many of the women on this team is inspiring. We have teachers, farmers, coaches, professional soccer players, students, etc.
9. The Deaflympics is one of the fastest growing sports competitions in the world and is built on 85 years of tradition. More than 4,000 deaf athletes and officials and 77 countries competed in the 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei in 2009. At the present time, there are over 4,500 athletes and 91 countries preparing for the 22nd Summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria this summer.
10. Unfortunately, we aren’t funded by U.S. Soccer (like various other national teams) so all the players have to raise $5,000 for airfare, hotels, etc.
11. We have been very lucky in the past because of our supporters and a growing fan base -- including former and current U.S. women’s and men’s national team players such as Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy, who helped us get our uniforms for Turkey -- have aided our fund-raising efforts, which remain ongoing.
You can follow are team at our usdeafsoccermates blog.