The USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team declared victory over Canada in a pair of friendlies this past weekend at the Salt Creek Soccer Arena in Chula Vista.
The U.S. prevailed with scores of 1-0 and 3-0 on March 19 and March 20 as they dip their toes into the international competition before the team makes its Paralympic Gamed Debut in Los Angeles in 2028.
The opening friendly kicked off with a scoreless first half although the U.S. team gained the majority of scoring opportunities. The score was deadlocked until Albaro Mora Arellano of Phoenix, AZ. made the first goal.
“It was something historical. It was a work from coaches, from teammates…everybody was prepared to come and play,” said Arellano in a statement. “We have been training for a long time and I got the opportunity to put the ball in the net.”
The U.S. team used the momentum from the opening night’s victory to defeat Canada, 3-0, the following night. The U.S. dictated the pace of play for most of the contest with Arellano putting a left-footed shot into the goal in the first half and following it up with another goal resulting in a 2-0 halftime lead.
Canada had several penalty kick opportunities in the first half, but goalkeeper Kyle Knott (Brevard, N.C.) denied each one. Captain Noah Beckman (Columbus, Ohio) made the final goal, leading the team to their victory.
The USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team is led by Head Coach Katie Smith (Columbus, Ohio), Assistant Coaches Fil Wilkinson (Mooresville, N.C.), and Ryan Lazaroe (Slidell, La.). Joining Arellano and Beckman on the roster for the friendlies with Canada were Cody Kirchner (Columbia, S.C.), David Brown (Chula Vista, Calif.), Antoine Craig (Richmond, Va.), Kevin Brown (Falls Church, Va.), Charles Catherine (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Ahmed Shareef (Staten Island, N.Y.), Ricky Castaneda (Fort Worth, Texas), John Marquez (Fort Worth, Texas) and sighted goalkeepers Knott and Brandt Herron (Palm Coast, Fla.).