Fort Worth

North Texas Soccer Player Trying for Blind Soccer National Team

Ricardo Castaneda found his passion for soccer after he lost his vision

Ricardo Castaneda, 19, a visually impaired athlete from Fort Worth, hopes to make the Blind Soccer National Team
NBC 5 News

Ricardo Castaneda started losing his sight when he was 4 years old. By age 14, it was gone.

"I went to school, ran into a couple walls, figured out I was going blind," Castaneda said. "The doctor said I was completely blind and there was no recovery from that."

The 19-year-old said the prognosis had him on the sofa for a few months, until he rediscovered his love of sports.

"Because it distracted me from what I had and what I could do," Castaneda said. "It made me more inspired to do more things."

Things like soccer. When Castaneda plays, he comes alive.

"Soccer has just been a passion of mine," Castaneda said. "The running, the dribbling, the teamwork. It just comes together to just, like, make a big ball of joy for me."

In December, Castaneda became the first blind Hispanic player to be invited to take part in the Blind Soccer National Team ID Camp near San Diego. It's the first step towards playing on the team.

Players use a soccer ball that jingles when it moves. They also have to communicate as they play.

"People should watch it just to see how we work and how we can actually do blind soccer," Castaneda explained. "It's a lot of communication, a lot of teamwork, a lot of just talking to your teammates and knowing what you're doing."

Castaneda might be the first blind Hispanic player to try out at that level, but he's not the first in his home to overcome challenges.

"I've been blind since I was born," Castaneda's mother, Maria Vera said. "I never thought that my son was gonna have a future, but he's out there."

Castaneda wants to be a physical therapist when he graduates from college. Right now, his goal is the make the Blind Soccer National Team.

"Sometimes it can get frustrating," Castaneda said. "But we just have to keep fighting through."

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