Ten Athletes Named to First-Ever USA Blind Soccer Men's National Team

The roster includes eight athletes with visual impairments and two sighted goalkeepers.

The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) today announced the 10 athletes chosen for the first-ever USA Blind Soccer Men's National Team that will begin international competition in 2023, the first step on the journey to competing at the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games. The team was selected after a four-day selection camp held Oct. 27-30 in Chula Vista, Calif. The roster features eight athletes with visual impairments along with two sighted goalkeepers.

The sport of blind soccer has been part of the Paralympic Games since 2004, but the U.S. has never fielded a team. That will all change in 2028 when Los Angeles plays host to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the U.S. will receive an automatic entry into the blind soccer competition as the host country.

"In the next six years, the world's two biggest sporting events will happen on American soil," said USABA CEO Molly Quinn. "In 2026, the FIFA World Cup will be played throughout the U.S. for the first time in three decades. In 2028, the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place in Los Angeles. It will mark the first time that L.A. has played host to the Paralympic Games."

The eight athletes with visual impairments named to the team 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 selected are Brandt Herron (Palm Coast, Fla.) and Kyle Knott (Brevard, N.C.).

"We are so excited to name the first ever USA Blind Soccer Men's National Team," said Head Coach Katie Smith. "It was incredible to see the growth of the athletes at this first national selection camp. It is truly incredible being a part of this revolutionary team and to have another Paralympic sport for blind athletes all over the country to aspire toward. I look forward to seeing how this National Team progresses toward our goal of the 2028 Paralympics."

Alternates for the USA Blind Soccer Men's National Team are John Marquez (Fort Worth, Texas) and Charles Catherine (Brooklyn, N.Y.). The team will begin competing in international friendlies in 2023.

USA Blind Soccer Men's National Team Roster

Players
Noah Beckman (Columbus, Ohio)
David Brown (Chula Vista, Calif.)
Kevin Brown (Falls Church, Va.)
Ricardo Castaneda (Fort Worth, Texas)
Antoine Craig (Richmond, Va.)
Cody Kirchner (Columbia, S.C.)
Alvaro Mora Arellano (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Ahmed Shareef (Staten Island, N.Y.)

Alternates
Charles Catherine (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
John Marquez (Fort Worth, Texas)

Sighted Goalkeepers
Brandt Herron (Palm Coast, Fla.)
Kyle Knott (Brevard, N.C.)

Coaching Staff
Katie Smith (Columbus, Ohio), Head Coach
Ryan Lazaroe (Slidell, La.), Assistant Coach
Fil Wilkinson (Mooresville, N.C.), Assistant Coach

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Source: U.S. Association of Blind Athletes

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Categories: Soccer, Broadcasting, General Interest, Gymnastics, Recreation and Sports, Sports News, Professional Sports, Sports, Sports News, Philanthropy

Tags: Paralympic, Soccer, USABA


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About USABA

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About U.S. Association of Blind Athletes
The mission of USABA is to empower Americans who are blind or visually impaired to experience life-changing opportunities in sports, recreation, and physical activities, thereby educating and inspiring the nation. A member organization of both the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and U.S. Soccer, USABA is certified by the USOPC as the national governing body for the Paralympic team sports of goalball and blind soccer. Since its founding in 1976, USABA has reached more than 100,000 individuals through its multi-sport programming. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. In 2022, USABA expanded its offerings of endurance sports events with the launch of its Team Tethered Together program for visually impaired runners and their guides. Learn more at www.usaba.org.

Bill Kellick
Communications Manager, USABA
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