Interpreting the game

Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 7:05 PM CDT
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Just like in every other aspect of life, communication is key to interacting with your teammates in sports. But what happens when one of the players can't communicate in the same way as everyone else?

Gideon Nyame spent this fall season on the Century JV Blue boys soccer team. Having played the game for the last three years, he was excited to just be out on the field with his teammates. But Nyame faces a challenge the other players rarely think about.

It's one of the last games of the season for Century JV Blue, and Nyame is hoping to help his team to a win. He's getting a little help of his own as well, from the sidelines.

"If there wasn't an interpreter here, I have to look and see what everyone else is doing to know what's going on,” Nyame said.

Gideon is deaf, and uses the help of student interpreter, Vallie Needham, during practice and games.

"If I don't tell him the proper information, well then he may be doing the wrong plays in a game, he may not be in the right place,” Needham said.

For coach Parker Ketterling, it's also a first.

"It's given me a whole different perspective on something that we all take for granted,” Ketterling said.

Ketterling says when session planning, he has to think of how he can communicate his plans to the interpreter, who relays the messages to Nyame.

"For me, this challenge has been how can I not only improve my players as soccer players and as people, but also for myself. How can I relay information differently or more?” Ketterling said.

And the players have learned how to communicate with Nyame in their own ways.

"It's a team building event, so by them having someone who's not quite like them but is still here because they love the sport, it's still a rallying cry for all of us to get behind and to help one another out,” Ketterling said.

"It's a lot of fun, we kind of fool around, joke around with each other sometimes that's a lot of fun, I enjoy that part of playing the game,” Nyame said.

Allowing the sport of soccer to bring everyone together, one word at a time.

Needham says she didn't understand the sport until starting to work with Nyame this fall. She says he's helped her learn the game, to in turn better help him understand what's happening.

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