The U.S. Blind Soccer Men’s National Team is slated to make its debut with two international friendlies against Canada this weekend.
The matches will take place at 5 p.m. on March 19 and March 20 at the Salt Creek Soccer Arena located at 2710 Otay Lakes Rd. The U.S. Men's National Team roster features eight athletes with visual impairments along with two sighted goalkeepers and two alternates.
The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), the national governing body for the sport of blind soccer in the United States, announced the first-ever USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team Roster last November.
The eight athletes on the team with visual impairments are Noah Beckman (Columbus, Ohio), Cody Kirchner (Columbia, S.C.), Ahmed Shareef (Staten Island, N.Y.), Ricardo Castaneda (Fort Worth, Texas), Kevin Brown (Falls Church, Va.), Antoine Craig (Richmond, Va.), David Brown (Chula Vista, Calif.) and Alvaro Mora Arellano (Phoenix, Ariz.). The two sighted goalkeepers are Brandt Herron (Palm Coast, Fla.) and Kyle Knott (Brevard, N.C.). Alternates are Charles Catherine (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and John Marquez (Fort Worth, Texas).
“We are incredibly excited that this historic day has arrived," said USABA CEO Molly Quinn said in a statement. "Just 14 months after being named the NGB for blind soccer, we are fielding a team in an international friendly. This is a major achievement and milestone on the road to our team's Paralympic Games debut in Los Angeles in 2028."
According to the USABA, Soccer for the blind and partially sighted has been a part of the Paralympic Games since 2004, but the U.S. has never put together a team. With the upcoming 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in Los Angeles, the United States will receive an automatic entry into the blind soccer competition as the cost county.
“Blind soccer has been around since 2004, and it is the fastest-growing Paralympic sport in the world. We are very fortunate as a nation to be able to say that we officially have a new national team, and we look forward to showing the world and our country what we’re made out of.” - USA Blind Soccer Men's National Team Assistant Coach Ryan Lazaroe in a statement on social media.
Both matches are open to the public and admission is free. The March 19 match will be live-streamed on the USABA Facebook and YouTube channels.
To find more information on the sport of blind soccer, visit the USABA website.