Vicente, in Spanish, means "Victory".
“From what I can tell, soccer is more than just kicking a ball into a net. It’s a rigorous sport that demands teamwork, agility, and precision. Vicente has all of these and more. I never would’ve suspected he was hard-of-hearing,” sophomore boys soccer team co-manager Mariyah Shah said.
For sophomore Vicente Perez, the team’s only hard-of-hearing player, soccer has become more than just a sport, but rather an escape from prejudices and predispositions.
“When you’re on the field, nothing matters but athletic ability. I guarantee you, Vicente has a lot of that,” sophomore and teammate Arun Abraham said.
“One of the biggest challenges I face everyday is communicating on the field,” Perez said. “Soccer is a game where we must communicate in order to succeed. Although it is an obstacle for me, it can also be an advantage because the enemy won't know what my next move is.”
Through practices and games, the group has triumphed not according to the books, but as a team. Players and coach alike have accepted Vicente and have all shared the bonding experience that often comes with team sports.
“He plays hard, is very competitive, and has a great sense of humor. Although it may sound strange, he's a very good listener. He listens to what you tell him to do and does it,” Coach Patrick Wolf said.
“Vicente has gained a lot of respect from all of us for his hustle on defense and his smart offensive play,” Abraham said. “He's a vital contribution to the success of the team.”
Undaunted of his limited opportunities, Perez plans to continue soccer throughout his high school career.
“Being hard-of-hearing hasn’t affected me much, but it does make me a more humble player because I appreciate the help I get” Perez said. “I still get the same opportunities as any other soccer player.”