As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday the U.S. Soccer Communications Center will send out an informative article from one of its departments. Once a week, we will post an article/paper/essay that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the game of soccer - on and off the field.
This week, learn more about one of the U.S. Soccer Federation's newest affiliate members - the United States of America Deaf Soccer Association.
United States of America Deaf Soccer Association
One of U.S. Soccer's newest affiliate members, the United States of America Deaf Soccer Association serves as the governing body of soccer for hearing impaired athletes. USADSA became an affiliate member of U.S. Soccer in October, 2001, and works closely with USA Deaf Sports Federation and U.S. Soccer to promote the sport of soccer, as well as the activities of their deaf athletes.
The goals of the United States of America Deaf Soccer Association are stated directly in the opening objective of the group’s bylaws:
“To foster national and/or international amateur sports competition, particularly in the field of soccer; to elevate and sustain the professional character of its members, to disseminate knowledge pertaining to the advancement of soccer among the deaf and hearing impaired population of the United States.”
The USADSA is currently working diligently with overseas National Governing Bodies (NGBs) to include women’s soccer in the 2005 Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia. The USADSA is improving communications among soccer clubs and NGBs in hopes of pushing women’s soccer into the 2005 Deaflympics.
The United States’ domination of women’s soccer at the world level continues with the women’s USADSA team. The women’s team was founded in 1999, and almost instantaneously became one of the top teams in the world. In April of 2001, the U.S. won an international tournament in Kortrijk, Belgium, for the second straight year. One of the top scorers on the team, Erin Coppedge, was also a standout at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Coppedge finished her career as one of GW’s all-time leading scorers and was an all-conference selection.
The men’s deaf soccer team finished in 10th place at the 2001 Deaf Olympics in Rome, Italy. The men’s team boasts three players that have NCAA Division I soccer experience, including Indiana University’s Josh Reiher. Reiher, who headed in the gamewinner against Italy at the Deaflympics, played in eight matches for the Hoosiers in 2001 as Indiana advanced all the way to the NCAA title game.
At the 2001 Deaflympics, the USADSA men’s team finished in 10th place. (More than 60 nations attempted to qualify for the 2001 Deaflympics soccer tournament.) The U.S. opened the tournament with a 3-3 draw against Algeria and then topped eventual champion Italy 2-1 before losing to Spain 0-2. The USA’s win against Italy was Italy’s only loss of the tournament, and the Italians outscored their five other opponents 20-2. The U.S. finished third in the group and advanced to the consolation bracket, where they finished the tournament with a win against Iran and a 1-2 loss to Uzbekistan.
The USADSA has put its sights on preparations for the next Deaflympics, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia in 2005. The Men’s squad is currently looking to fill its vacant head coaching spot. Interested candidates must possess a USSF ‘B’ Coaching license and can apply at www.usadsa.net.
Both the men’s and women’s national teams will hold open tryouts for both teams in the coming spring. The USADSA is also hoping to host an international tournament in the coming year. For more information on USA Deaf Soccer Association, you may visit their website at www.usadsa.net. The President is Christos Nicholas, and he can be reached at Christos9@usadsa.net.
About the Deaflympics:
The 19th Deaf Olympics took place in Rome from July 22- August 1, 2001, with approximately 4,500 athletes from more than 70 countries competing in 15 sports. The 2005 Summer Deaflympics will be held in Melbourne, Australia. Next year, Sundsvall, Sweden, will host the 2003 Winter Deaflympics.
Questions can be directed to Julie Ilacqua, U.S. Soccer's Managing Director of Federation Services. Julie can be reached at email@example.com or at 312-528-1252.