My name is Meghan Maiwald, a goalkeeper for the USA Women’s Deaf National Soccer Team (USWDNT), and this is my first of many blog posts for Women Talk Sports. I was born deaf, along with my brother in a hearing family. I am fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and I can speak fluently as well. I wear hearing aids on both ears which give me approximately 70-80% normal hearing. Without it, I’m completely deaf. I’m a proud junior college transfer; Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and now currently a senior student-athlete at San Jose State University (SJSU) and just exhausted my college soccer eligibility. Also I am entering second season with the California Storm of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). I also work for Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI) as a school site manager at Oster Elementary School’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.
Yes, there is a USWDNT. Truly the best team you never heard of. Here’s why.
The USA Deaf National Team participates in the Deaflympics, a completely separate event from the Special Olympics. The last two were in Melbourne, Australia (2005) and Taipei, Taiwan (2009). The USWDNT dominated and swept the last two Deaflympics. Which were are two time gold medalists!
The USWDNT is made of women of all kinds of different levels of deafness; some only ASL or speaking as the primary language, or 50-50, like me. We come from all corners of the country and our age’s ranges from 17 to 35. There are approximately six current and former Division 1 (D1) soccer players, and there is a new wave of young high school aged players that will play D1. There also is a player currently playing professionally in Sweden.
We are currently in preparation mode for the important event this summer, the July Deaf World Cup in Ankara, Turkey. This is a qualification tournament for the next Deaflympics in summer 2013, location TBA. We are aiming for our third gold medal!
On April 28th, both USA Women’s and Men’s National teams are having a tripleheader exhibition game in Columbus, Ohio in the Columbus Crew Stadium. The women’s is playing at noon, men’s at 3, and 7:30 is the Crew vs. Vancouver Whitecaps. We are all very excited about this special event, especially the fact that it’s the only game that you will see us play on American soil. This event also is a fundraiser.
Yes you heard it right, a fundraiser. The entire team is self funded with very little financial help. We have camps two-three times a year in different parts of the country and they are very costly for many of us. The last two trips to the Deaflympics were self-funded by the players, and we had to seek donations. So, this special event at the Crew Stadium is to fund our trip to the Deaf World Cup.
Here is the link: http://www.thecrew.com/deafsoccer Today (April 17) is the last day to buy tickets! They’ve extended this offer for another 8 days! Even if you can’t go, you still can buy tickets as a donation to US Deaf Soccer. Be sure to enter the promo code “deafsoccer” when you’re checking out.
This event is to fund raise both Women’s and Men’s teams, however, each player has to raise $5,000 to be able to go to the Deaf World Cup this summer. Any type of help is appreciated; a donation or simply help spread the word of the USWDNT, the best team you’ve never heard of, is greatly appreciated. If you are interested in donating, you can donate through Pay Pal (more info below).
I will be updating this blog daily about my journey being a deaf female athlete and the USWDNT. I am so excited to share this with you all. Thank you for reading this and supporting the Women’s Deaf National Team. GO USA!!!
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