COLUMBUS, Ohio — Noah Beckman is an athlete, despite a condition that causes severe vision loss. 

What You Need To Know

  • Columbus Recreation and Parks Department has one of six soccer teams in the country for the blind and visually impaired

  • Noah Beckman has been playing blind soccer for four years

  • Beckman will be competing on the first ever U.S. National Blind Soccer Team

“I’ve been playing blind soccer for four years," said Beckman, who was was born with Leber congenital amaurosis. "When I was a child and my vision was a little bit better, I played recreational sighted soccer.”

“I can kind of make out shapes and things like that but in most settings, it’s too dark for me to do anything else so I basically just see shapes,” said Beckman.

Despite this, Beckman plays soccer through the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. It has one of six soccer teams in the country for the blind and visually impaired. 

Katie Smith is the team's head coach. She says volunteer guides from The Ohio State University Physical Therapy program help with spatial awareness. The soccer pitch, which has padded walls, was donated by the Columbus Crew. The team also uses a ball with an internal bell. Smith says all athletes wear eyeshades to even the playing field.

All the players wear eyeshades to level the playing field. (Spectrum News 1/Brandon Coello Amaya)

“There’s a large spectrum of legally blindness and we have athletes who are totally blind, athletes who are visually impaired, so when you put the eyeshades on, it kind of evens that playing field out where everybody is on the same level.”

Trent Tribble is also on the team. He lives with aniridia, which has left him completely blind in his left eye and with partial vision in his right. 

“My teammates, they keep me motivated and they stay on me about coming to practices. You know, sometimes it’s hard. I’ve got kids and different things like that but it forces me to get out here and stay active,” said Tribble.

The sport demands strategy, communication and teamwork and Beckman is taking it to the next level by competing on the first ever U.S. National Blind Soccer Team. 

Ohio Blind Soccer is actively looking for new players.