Earlier this week, USA Soccer announced that Meghan Maiwald, Natalie Russo and Gavin Sibayan had been nominated for the 2014 Soccer Disabled Athlete of the Year.
Meghan Maiwald is a deaf soccer player, coach and more. When she is not serving in her new role as an assistant coach for the women’s team at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., she is playing for the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s California Storm and serving as women’s representative for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. In deaf soccer, she is Team USA’s starting goalkeeper and co-captain. This year is her eight year as a member of the national team. She was a key part of the team in winning the 2012 Deaf World Cup, allowing only two goals in nine appearances, with seven shutouts and one assist. She also has a gold medal from the Deaflympics, and holds several records as a member of the San Jose State University team during her university days. She also a finalist for this same award last year. On Twitter, Maiwald said she was humbled by this nomination.
Powerchair soccer player Natalie Russo is a powerhouse scorer for club and country. After eleven years playing the sport, she has played in several international tournaments including this year’s COPA Americas, which saw the United States win 6 – 0 in the final against Australia. Scoring 19 total goals in the competition, she came away with its Golden Boot award. The Caramel, Indiana native played for the Circle City Rollers this season, scoring an impressive 48 goals in 19 games. Along with Michael Archer, Pete Winslow, Katie Dickey, Peyton Sefick, Ben Carpenter, Riley Johnson, JC Russo, Jordan Dickey, Case Calvert, Andrew Cunningham and Nathan Mayer, she was named named late last month as part of the 2015 USA national team. The Ball State University graduate made the team after a selection camp attended by over 18 athletes.
Gavin Sibayan is an important part of the United States’s forward line in 7-a-side football. This year, he played an important role in the United States’s third place finish at the Toronto hosted 2014 Americas Cup. Playing every game of the competition, he led Team USA in scoring. Two of his goals came in the USA’s 3 – 0 victory against Canada in the bronze medal game. At a Barcelona hosted invitational earlier this year, he again played an important goal scoring role that saw his team finish in second. Sibayan’s talents are many, as he can play both sides of the field, either as a key defender or an goal scoring midfielder. The Colorado Springs, Colorado native has been with the team for a number of years, and was part of the USA’s 2012 Summer Paralympics team that finished in eighth place.