STAUNTON, V.A. (WNCN) – A physical education teacher at Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh is among a group of 26 teachers and coaches across the United States invited to an inaugural coaching summit for the blind.
Shawn Whitney is attending the USA Blind Soccer Coaching Education Summit on Wednesday and Thursday at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind.
There, the teachers and coaches will learn how to integrate the sport of blind soccer into school programs and communities.
Currently, the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes (USABA) is working to get blind soccer into the Olympic games in Los Angeles in 2028.
So far, it has debuted in the Paralympic games in the 2004 Athens games and been at every Paralympic games since, a news release from USABA said.
Blind soccer is currently played in more than 60 countries.
Blind soccer is played on a rectangular field that measures 40 meters long by 20 meters wide.
The entire length of the pitch is covered by sideboards that prevent the ball from going out of play — imagine a type of indoor soccer here in America.
“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 USABA news release said. “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.”
In 2019, the east coast featured the first two schools to ever play a tournament in the United States — the Maryland School for the Blind and The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, but USABA is hoping summits like this one in June will help spread out the playing of blind soccer.