NOTTINGHAM, MD—The Maryland School for the Blind will host the first official competitive blind youth soccer match in the United States on Tuesday, September 24, at 1:00 pm when the MSB Bees take on the Virginia School for the Blind Chiefs on the athletic fields at MSB.
The sport of 5-a-side soccer was introduced at MSB in September 2017, when an inaugural six week training session was held for MSB student athletes ages 12-18. Since that time it has been a club sport as the students have learned the game, but now soccer is an official varsity sport at MSB. Several other schools for the blind across the country have followed MSB’s lead and are fielding soccer teams for competitive play.
The soccer playing field at MSB, also known as the pitch, is the first and only full size regulation blind soccer field in the country, complete with kickboards to keep the ball in play. The school is playing an integral role in creating awareness of the sport both nationally and internationally. In 2018, MSB, along with the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) and the International Blind Soccer Federation (IBSA), hosted the inaugural North American Blind Soccer Training Camp for coaches and players to teach the fundamentals of the game. The goal is to grow the sport in the United States and ultimately field a national blind soccer team that can compete at the Paralympic level in the future.
As a statewide resource center, The Maryland School for the Blind provides outreach, educational and residential services for students to reach their fullest potential, by preparing them to be as successful, independent and well-rounded contributing members of their communities as possible. Each year MSB serves 65 percent of the 2,000 students throughout Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions identified as blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities.