by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has certified the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) as the national governing authority of two Paralympic sports teams, blind soccer (known internationally as blind football) and goalball. Team USA for blind soccer is slated to make its Paralympic debut at the Los Angeles 2028 Games. The USABA “’has successfully proven itself as the high-performance management organization for goalball since 1976,’” stated USABA CEO, Molly Quinn, and looks ahead to “’accept the challenge of developing the exciting sport of soccer in the United States.’” USABA has hosted blind soccer camps and clinics to build up the sport in communities across the nation. It is hoped that blind soccer will have as much success as blind goalball as “blind soccer is the fastest growing Paralympic sport in the world.” Goalball’s Team USA has achieved renown through the years in garnering many Paralympic game and world championship medals. USABA’s work in developing goalball and the international success of the sport “directly contributed” to their being granted this new certification. Board Chair for the USABA and RDPFS Board Member Mark Ackermann noted that “’These two Paralympic sports provide Americans who are blind or visually impaired greater access to a healthy lifestyle as well as the camaraderie that comes with participating in a team sport.’” For more information regarding this topic, read the press release: USOPC Selects USABA to Oversee New Team USA Sport: Paralympic Blind Soccer.