Louisville man enters 2023 Deaf World Cup as captain of U.S. Men’s Deaf National team
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - While the women just wrapped up the U.S. World Cup, a Louisville man is taking part in the 2023 Deaf World Cup.
It brings 22 of the best players from around the country who are deaf, facing off against other teams from around the world.
Will Frentz, 32, has been playing soccer since he was 3 years old at Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club. At that time, he was completely deaf due to a genetic mutation.
”I fell in love with the game,” Frentz said. “I had to really learn to look up and always be aware of where the ball is. Where my teammates are. Just always having my head on a swivel, it’s just so important for me. I’ve just kept that, and I think that’s helped me over the years.”
Frentz was five when he got his cochlear implants, which allow him to hear.
He continued to play soccer in high school at Dupont Manual and in college at Centre, using a headband to keep his cochlear implants on.
”I always made sure I knew what coaches were trying to teach me during breaks in play,” Frentz said.
Now, he’s the Captain of the US Men’s Deaf National Team. Players come from all over the country and practice together four times a year. They’re heading to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to take part in the Deaf World Championships, which take place every four years.
Frentz has played with them for the last four championships.
Rules mandate every player must remove their hearing devices before the game, to even the playing field. Referees use flags instead of whistles, and the players don’t talk during the game.
”There’s no point at yelling at each other,” Frentz said. “We sign at each other during breaks in play. We really have to work on our chemistry and team movement when we are together.”
Frentz is a father of two girls and works at Heuser Hearing and Language Academy in Louisville as a philanthropy coordinator. He credits the school for helping him speak so well. Now his love of soccer is taking him to places all over the world.
”It’s given me this opportunity to represent our country on an International stage,” Frentz said. “I don’t take it for granted.”
The U.S. team will face off against 19 countries in the Deaf World Championships, which go from Sept. 20 through Oct. 8.
Frentz hopes to play again in the next Cup four years from now.
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