A Rookie and Veteran’s Perspective on the 2016 Deaf World Cup
As the world anxiously awaits for the Rio, Brazil Olympic Games, the US Deaf Women’s National Team (USDWNT) is gearing up to defend its World Champion title against Great Britain, Russia, Poland, Italy and Turkey in the 2016 Deaf World Cup.
The team is composed of 18 deaf women who come from all over the country and have drastically different lifestyles, much like any national team. The age range is as young as 15 years old to as “over the hill” 28 years old. This roster currently has 7 rookies and 11 veterans. Rookie Lexie Cano and Veteran Allie Galoob discussed the team’s challenges and excitement for the Deaf World Cup.
What are the challenges of being on this team?
Lexie: I would definitely say one of the biggest challenges our team faces is communication. Because of our deafness, we all have to communicate differently and that's usually with ASL and lip reading. Not all of us are fluent in ASL, myself included. It's tough at times because I can't just yell for the ball and scream, "I'm open." My teammates have to SEE me open. A lot of it comes down to trusting your teammates and understanding the way they play. I know that if I make a run up (I play defense), my teammates will cover my back. I do think we have improved a lot from previous camps to now with our communication!
Personally, I also find being a rookie on the team a minor challenge because I have absolutely no idea what to expect! Especially with going into my first Deaf World Cup, I don't know what to expect let alone can't believe it's actually happening.
Allie: Communication is definitely a challenge on and off the field. However, it is a good challenge because once we get through the “communication barrier” we are able to relate to one another on a more intense level and it helps with our game. Our game is generally like any other soccer game, the biggest difference is we rely so much on reading each other and I think that gives us such a huge advantage.
The most amazing thing about this challenge is that we are more than willing and able to work through it because we know how hard we have to work every second of every day to keep up with a world that moves and speaks so quickly.
Lexie: How quickly I was able to adapt to playing on the field without my hearing devices. The only times I've ever played without my hearing devices are when it's rained - because they're not waterproof. And each time, I was always the only player on the team who couldn't hear. Again, it just comes down to trusting your teammates and realizing that you're not the only one on the field that can't hear. It really develops a special kind of bond within our team.
What is your favorite part so far?
Lexie: Being with the girls and making new memories. I know it sounds cheesy but it's true. I love being able to be myself around these girls and I don't have to worry about saying, "what" or "can you repeat that" too much. I was never ashamed of my hearing but I used to be embarrassed by how noticeable my cochlear implant is so I would never wear my hair up in a pony tail at school or would cover my implant with my hair. Now, I have no embarrassment in wearing my implant over my hair or wearing my hair in a pony tail. Without a doubt, being on this team has taught me to embrace my hearing tremendously. I am so proud to be deaf and to represent the deaf community as well as the United States.
Another favorite part of mine is how hard our team works! I absolutely love it! Each player gives 100% every single time and everyone wants to be there. We're always having fun while working hard and that's the best part.
Allie: Lexie pretty much said it all. I love watching the rookies grow and become more confident in themselves because of the team. It is so inspiring to see them realize how enriching it is to be a part of something greater than yourself, especially when it is something so unique. Each tournament I’ve competed in has been a completely different experience. The team dynamics have always been unique and it’s so great because it allows me to continue growing with the rookies.
What are you most looking forward to?
Allie: I am looking forward to seeing our team continue becoming better and stronger. There is no doubt that we will grow as we go along, there is always room for improvement. I am also looking forward to interacting with the other national teams. It is so much fun to learn different sign languages and listen to their perspectives, their stories. Of course, I am looking forward to winning the gold medal with my teammates. I love sharing this experience with them!
Lexie: Winning the gold! I have no doubt in my mind that this team can achieve yet another gold medal. I mean of course I'm absolutely thrilled to be traveling to Italy along with my team and my family and being able to play in the Deaf World Cup, but I'm most excited for the moment when I've realized all that all of our hard work has finally paid off - and that moment will happen when we win another gold.
Be sure to follow our journey through the Deaf World Cup starting June 22nd via Twitter @USDeaf_WNT and Instagram USA Deaf Soccer WNT. We would love for you to be a part of our dream.
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