The following information was provided by the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes:
Kelsey Linsenbigler, an adapted physical education teacher at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, is among the 26 coaches and educators from across the United States attending the inaugural USA Blind Soccer Coaching Education Summit this week in Staunton, Virginia.
The inaugural USA Blind Soccer Coaching Education Summit will take place June 22-23 at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. The camp will host coaches from schools for the blind, parks departments, soccer clubs, adaptive sports groups and other organizations to learn about blind soccer and how to integrate it into their programs and their communities. The camp is a collaboration between the Clemson University Adaptive Soccer Program, Maryland School for the Blind, the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB), and U.S. Association for Blind Athletes (USABA).
Blind soccer is in a grassroots phase of development as the USABA works to develop a national team for the L.A. 2028 games. The sport, also known as blind football, is an adaptation of soccer for athletes with visual impairments. Blind soccer debuted at the Athens 2004 Paralympics and has been contested at every Paralympic Games since and has become the fastest-growing Paralympic sport in the world, played in over 60 countries.
Blind soccer is played on a rectangular field that measures 40m long and 20m wide. The entire length of the pitch is covered by sideboards that prevent the ball from going out of play. To ensure fair competition, all outfield players must wear eyeshades. Goalkeepers may be sighted and teams can also have off-field guides to assist the outfield players. The ball makes a noise due to a sound device located inside that helps players orient themselves. Spectators must remain silent while watching the game until a goal is scored.
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, USABA is the National Governing Body for the sport of Blind Soccer in the U.S. and works with organizations across the country to implement a variety of sports for blind and visually impaired athletes. Maryland School for the Blind and The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind are the first two schools to ever play a tournament match in the U.S. that took place in 2019.
For more information visit https://www.usaba.org/about-blind-soccer/.