Mexico City Has a Soccer Club for the Blind
Mexico City's official soccer club for the blind is more than just fun and games — its real goal is inclusion. ⚽
Soccer for the Blind
In Mexico City, soccer is for everyone — including blind people that may be percieved as a disability in sports. At 22, Ramírez is devoting some of his time to the Aztecas team, Mexico City’s official soccer club for the blind. “If you can support people, whoever they are, I think there will always be this sort of…reward, but a reward you feel mostly in your heart. They show you that barriers and limits just don’t exist. They play a sport even though they have a disability, so I think anyone who doesn’t have one can do it too, right?” says Patricio Ramírez Coach, Aztecas CDMX F.C.
This branch of the sport is known as 5-a-side, or blind soccer, because it involves just 4 blind players and 1 sighted goalkeeper. There is also a goal guide. The goal guide helps the strikers find their way to the opposing goal so they can locate and orient themselves and be able to score a goal. The field is divided into three sections. It’s a field with a circle, and it’s enclosed so the players can get a sense of the space. The ball has a rattle. It makes sound so the players, while they’re dribbling the ball, the other people, the other people, the other players can know where the play is and can perform on the field.
Patricio Ramírez became the coach for the Mexico City Aztecas, because the previous coach was promoted as the national track and field coach. “They’re in the same situation, and here we are doing things we enjoy. They feel the same way about playing soccer as I do when I’m playing it. In the end, the real goal is inclusion. We’re living in a time when we want people to be free from discrimination due to disability, race, religion, sex, or anything. Wanting everyone to be able to live together in one environment, for us all to learn from each other, and for…well, for the guys to be able to enjoy a physical activity, just like you and I can.”
Soccer for the blind was started during the 1930s in Brazil and Spain. The International Blind Sports Federation officially recognized it in 1996 based on data from USABA. For many players, the sport is a salvation.