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The U.S. now has a blind soccer team. Meet the Phoenix athlete who made the squad

Alvaro Mora Arellano of Phoenix is one of eight athletes with visual impairments to be picked to play on a new national soccer team.

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man has been selected to play on the first national men's team of blind soccer players.

Alvaro Mora Arellano, 35, has been recently announced as one of the eight players picked from throughout the country to play on the first-ever USA Blind Soccer Men’s national team.  

Blind soccer has been part of the Paralympic Games since 2004 but the U.S. has never before fielded a home team.

“We are so excited to name the first ever USA Blind Soccer Men’s National Team," Head Coach Katie Smith said in a statement. “It is truly incredible being a part of this revolutionary team and to have another Paralympic sport for blind athletes all over the country to aspire toward."

The rest of the new team consists of athletes from Texas, Ohio, Virginia, New York, and other states. 

Mora Arellano was first introduced to the game of goalball, a popular team sport for the blind and visually impaired, as a teenager in Mexico. 

He then attended his first blind soccer clinic in 2019 and has attended several talent identification camps over the past three years.

The team will begin an international competition next year, which may be the first step towards competing at the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games.

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