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Kansas State School for the Blind adds new blind soccer pitch, track

Kansas State School for the Blind adds new blind soccer pitch and track
Posted at 5:23 AM, Apr 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-08 12:03:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan — On Friday, the Kansas State School for the Blind will be celebrating the opening of its brand new blind soccer field, giving visually impaired athletes and students the power to gain confidence while promoting teamwork and inclusivity.

"Our blind soccer field that we know of is the only blind soccer field in the Midwest region," explained Leah Enright, blind sports coordinator at the Kansas State School for the Blind. "Kansas City is a soccer town and we want to prove that we're a soccer town for all."

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Construction for the blind soccer pitch started in August 2023 through donations from the KC Blind All-Stars Foundation and Sporting KC's Victory Project.

The pitch is smaller than a typical soccer field and surrounded by kick boards. Each team has five players, including a goalie, who all wear patches except the goalie.

There are no offside rules and the soccer ball has to make noise when it’s moving.

Blind Soccer Rules
U.S. Association of Blind Athletes

“I’ve always wanted to play soccer, so I am glad they made blind soccer we can play," said 10-year-old Maddie Bedell, a student at Kansas State School for the Blind. “I’ve had times where I wanted to play with someone and they were like you can’t because your blind."

While the objective is to score a goal, the purpose of the new pitch is to show the world soccer is a universal sport and welcoming to anyone.

“Blind soccer is a sport where you need both blind and sighted individuals, and so we are able to include all and anyone who wants to play on this pitch," Enright said.

The official ribbon cutting will take place Friday at Kansas State School for the Blind at 2 p.m.

Anyone is welcome to come out and support the school, students and staff.

Members of Sporting KC will also be out there to celebrate the milestone along with players and staff of U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.

According to USABA, blind soccer has been a Paralympic sport since 2004 but the U.S. has never had a team.

Thanks to USABA's efforts Team USA will make its Paralympic debut as the host nation of the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

“As we look to grow blind soccer across the country in advance of the USA Blind Soccer team’s historic debut at the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games, a key component of that growth is introducing the sport to youth through schools for the blind and providing access to blind soccer pitches," said Molly Quinn, USABA CEO. "The dimensions and specifications of a blind soccer pitch are unique and we are thrilled that the Kansas State School for the Blind has committed to providing its students with this valuable resource.”