The ball looks like a normal one, but it possesses essential characteristics to the game. Circular shape, heavier than normal, and a jingle when it moves, these are the key elements to play soccer for blind people.
The ball daces around the field to the sound of the soccer team's screaming -In the way! or Here, here!-. To be in the same mood, two strikers and two defense wear an eye mask to cover their sight.
In the field, you can hear many different sounds, like the instructions of their goalkeeper guide saying "to the left", "to the right", "to the center", back to their adversary's goal while the goalkeeper gives the movements to the defense.
Soccer to the blind
The most popular sport in Mexico is soccer, surely all of us know at least one person who plays soccer. Soccer fans say that it is for everyone, but not everyone feels it at the same level.
What can we do when we cannot see soccer? We feel it!
Soccer for blinds and visually impaired brings the opportunity to be part of this sport, also part of the common life.
Puebla has the first feminine soccer team for blind and visually impaired people called TOPOS FEMININE, also known as topas. It was created in 2016.
The benefits of playing soccer are: developing their senses to the max, being able to develop themselves, and create friendly bonds, according to what María del Carmen Gonzales (TOPOS manager) says.
Topas participated in the first soccer game of the club facing the Argentinian team: The Warriors of Córdoba. They have also played against Jalisco team three times, winning twice and drawing one.
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You feel soccer!
Young, intelligent, and independent. Aide Hernandez Romero is 24 years old and visually impaired, she also is one of Topa's strikers.
Being visually impaired wasn't an obstacle, because she also has a bachelors degree in Modern and applied languages. When she started feeling the soccer, she knew that was her place.
"I used spend most of my time studying, and when they realized that I started hanging outdoors, and performing different activities in sports area and daily life, they wanted to stop me, but I showed through my actions what I really wanted and I started to do the thing by my own", she said.
Topos feminine soccer team is a family. Teammates support and motivate each other. They know if one team members scores is the effort of everyone. If you see them training, what you can see will be unity, fun, and happiness. You also will feel the sisterhood in each movement in the field.
While, making the decision of being part and starting to play is not easy, but once you start, you can't stop, Aide said.
When you play soccer frequently, you will teach your senses and over time it becomes easier for your body, to develop many skills that are helpful inside and outside the field
You'll be empowered
Aide assures that playing a sport, soccer in her case, helps her being free, and little by little becoming self- reliant.
These are some of the reasons why Aide Hernandez and Maria del Carmen Gonzales invite every women to be part of TOPOS team in Puebla, they also are seeking an opportunity to participate in a national competition.
How is it played?
This game is to blind and visually impaired people. The games are played with an eye mask everyone can be on the same wavelength explains the manager's team.
The ball in soccer for blind people has a rattle inside so players can hear it when it moves, and it's heavier than normal to avoid it bouncing around the field, and it stays on the floor most of the time.
It is played in a indoor soccer pitch, and different people participate in the game.
"These games consist of five soccer players in the field per team, and all the audience stays quiet, so all the noise comes from the field because players must be in constant communication al the time", says Maria del Carmen Gonzales.
1.- Defense: their responsibility is to keep the opponents outside the goal.
2.-Striker: their responsibility is to defend in the first line the team and score goals.
3.-Goalkeeper: this is the only player in field who can see, and their function is to guide the defense with their voice, in the first third of the field.
4.- Goalkeeper Guide: the guide is behind the opponent goalkeeper, and their responsibility to guide the strikers to score in the last part of the field.
The manager is the one who creates the playbook, game plan, and during the game, guides the players who are in the midfield.
The players need to speak all the time, saying "over here" or "over there", to help avoid accidents between both teams.
If you want to know more about this team you can check out their Facebook page Fucho para ciegos