Blind youth practice soccer. They learn how to hear the ball and to score goals at a special training club in Vitebsk, Belarus. A soccer team consisting of young men who’ve lost their eyesight has formed in Belarus.At a recent training session, the six-person soccer team gathered in the lobby of their sports arena and walked into the training room. They kept their hands on their neighbor’s shoulder and were followed by their coach Oleg Kirillov. After warming up, the young men worked on feeling and hearing the ball to be able to kick it into the goal. The team was founded in 2008 on the initiative of the Paralympic committee of Belarus. Each of the players has a different story. Some of them lost their eyesight in childhood. Others became blind when they were adults from an illness or accident. This player lost his vision when he was very young, and has never actually seen a soccer match. [Dmitry Kholodovich, Soccer Player]: “Soccer was the first thing I learned about as a type of sport which is available to blind athletes, as an active type of sports. I know there are checkers and chess (for blind people), but I never knew about anything requiring movement all the time.” Their coach Oleg Kirillov works with a young soccer team at a cadet school, in addition to his team of blind athletes. [Oleg Kirillov, Team Coach]: “When a player hears the ball he can’t identify its location exactly, he doesn’t know where the sound comes from – either from the left or from the right …
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