The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Deaf National Teams have been named for the World Deaf Football Championships from Sept. 20-Oct. 8 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

CHICAGO – The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Deaf National Teams have been named for the World Deaf Football Championships from Sept. 20-Oct. 8 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Men’s Deaf NT head coach David Kunitz and Women’s Deaf NT head coach Amy Griffin have selected 22 players each to represent the United States in Southeast Asia and both teams will find out their opponents for the tournament when the draw is held on Sept. 18.  

About the Women’s Deaf NT 

The U.S. Women’s Deaf National Team has been dominant, going undefeated in international play since its inception in 2005 and winning all six world championship events it has entered, including last spring’s postponed 2021 Deaflympics in Brazil.  

The USA didn’t field a team in the inaugural five-team World Championships in 2008 in Greece, however the Women’s Deaf NT competed and won the two most recent Deaf World Football Championship titles in 2012 (Turkey) and 2016 (Italy). The 2020 World Championships were postponed to 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The team has also won the Deaflympics in 2009 (Taiwan), 2013 (Bulgaria), 2017 (Turkey) and 2021 (delayed to 2022, Brazil).  

Sixteen players return from the team’s most recent championship run, including midfielder Kate Ward, who was nominated for Best Athlete with a Disability, Women’s Sports at the 2022 ESPYs. Ward captained the squad in Brazil as she won an unprecedented fifth world championship gold medal.   


The other returnees are goalkeeper Taegan Frandsen, defenders Sydney Andrews, Beth Barbiers, Paige Beaudry, McCall Madriago, Mia White and Faith Wylie, midfielders Erin Cembrale, Ashely Derrington, Gracie Fitzgerald, Ani Kachadourian and Paris Price, plus forwards Emily Cressy and Sophie Post. The roster draws from 14 states, led by four players from California and three each from Georgia and Utah.   


The team is also led by two world champions: head coach Griffin and assistant coach Joy Fawcett. The pair helped the U.S. Women’s National Team take home the first FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991, while Fawcett also represented the U.S. at the 1995, 1999 and 2003 tournaments, winning another World Cup in 1999.  Fawcett also won gold medals with the USWNT at the 1996 and 2004 Summer Olympics.   


GOALKEEPERS (2): 21-Payton DeGraw (Salt Lake City, Utah), 1-Taegan Frandsen (Centerville, Utah)  


DEFENDERS (7): 11-Sydney Andrews (Wichita, Kan.), 15-Beth Barbiers (Atlanta, Ga.), 3-Paige Beaudry (Riverview, Mich.), 4-McCall Madriago (Sacramento, Calif.), 6-Mia McMurry (Asheville, N.C.), 17-Mia White (Littleton, Colo.), 18-Faith Wylie (Decatur, Texas)  


MIDFIELDERS (9): 8-Erin Cembrale (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), 13-Ashley Derrington (Alpharetta, Ga.), 5-Gracie Fitzgerald (Georgetown, Ind.), 24-Holly Hunter (Temecula, Calif.), 9-Ani Khachadourian (Cary, N.C.), 16-Emma Neff (Oakwood, Ohio), 14-Paris Price (Fall City, Wash.), 7-Sabina Shysh (Tucson, Ariz.), 2-Kate Ward (Atlanta, Ga.)  


FORWARDS (4): 10-Emily Cressy (Fountain Valley, Calif.), 12-Sophie Post (Murray, Utah), 22-Nikki Koehn (Fremont, Calif.), 23-Casey King (Bexley, Ohio)  

About the Men’s Deaf NT 

The U.S. Men’s Deaf National Team’s best finish at a world championship event came at the inaugural World Deaf Football Championships in 2008, a fourth-place showing, and it will aim for similar success in Southeast Asia. The USA also took home the 2019 PanAmerican Deaf Games title in Chile, the last time the regional championship was held.    

At last spring’s Deaflympics, the USA finished third in its five-team group and just shy of a quarterfinal berth. Nine players return from that tournament: goalkeeper Erik Jasper, defenders Kevin Fitzpatrick, Will Frentz, Eddie Perry, midfielders Braden Anderson, Dawson Anderson, Trip Neil, Raul Silva, Tristan Torbett, forwards Chad Johnson, JP Kanashiro, Michael Schmid. In preparation for next month’s World Championships, last October, the squad split two matches with England in Darlington, Ga., winning 2-1 before falling 2-0.  

The roster hails from 12 states, led by eight players from California. Two brothers from Idaho will take the field for the U.S. in Malaysia: midfielders Braden and Dawson Anderson. Neil is the program’s all-time appearance leader with 42 caps, while forwards Michael Schmid and Chad Johnson lead the team in scoring with 11 career goals each. The roster is led in the back by the veteran presence of Will Frentz. 

The USA made its deaf soccer world championship debut on home soil at the 1965 Deaflympics in Washington, D.C. The fourth-place finish at the 2008 World Deaf Football Championships is its best world championship finish, while the squad won the 2019 Deaf PanAm Games.   


GOALKEEPERS (3): 12-Erik Jaspers (Saratoga Springs, Utah), 21-Samuel Lang (Fort Thomas, Ky.), 1-Eric Setzer (Ontario, Calif.)  


DEFENDERS (7): 2-David Dircio (San Diego, Calif.), 16-Kevin Fitzpatrick (Hopatcong, N.J.), 5-William Frentz (Pewee Valley, Ky.), 19-Arthur Goncalves (San Carlos, Calif.), 18-Luke Haubruge (San Marcos, Calif.), 3-Edwin Perry (Dellwood, Minn.), 15-JJ Waterman (Cottonwood, Calif.)  


MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Braden Anderson (Boise, Idaho), 14-Dawson Anderson (Boise, Idaho), 11-JP Kanashiro (Lorton, Va.), 17-Tate Lancaster (Overland Park, Kan.), 6-Trip Neil (Dallas, Texas), 10-Raul Silva (San Diego, Calif.)  
FORWARDS (6): 7-Christopher Bourdon (San Diego, Calif.), 20-Kelly Grant (St. Louis, Mo.), 13-Chad Johnson (Los Angeles, Calif.),  9-Thomas Salvi (Fairfax, Va.), 22-Michael Schmid (Cleveland, Ohio), 4-Tristan Torbett (Asheville, N.C.)  

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.