Louisville man kicks up a storm as he heads to Deaf World Cup - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville man kicks up a storm as he heads to Deaf World Cup

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville native Will Frentz was born with a hearing loss, but that hasn't stopped him from competing on soccer fields across the world.

There was a time when Frentz couldn't hear anything. "I was born completely deaf in both ears."

In his early years, Frentz attended the Louisville Deaf World School.

Then at age 3, he received a cochlear implant. That's also around the time he first picked up a soccer ball. "I had to really keep my head up a lot more instead of looking down at the ball,” he said.

He joined the Mockingbird Valley Indoor Soccer team and learned early on how to play with a hearing loss.

Frentz played for Manual High School and by the time he turned 16, he had his eyes on a much bigger prize. "When I first heard of a deaf national basketball team, I thought, well there has to be a deaf soccer team."

That year, he reached out to the coach and was asked to join the U.S. Men's Deaf Soccer Team. “I went to Greece in 2008,” he said. "That was a pretty surreal experience just being the youngest guy on the team.”

He's been on the team ever since. In 2012, Frentz traveled to Turkey and this summer, the team is headed to Italy.

He says rules at the Deaf World Cup are a little different. "A whistle is useless so the ref has to use a flag."

Also, players aren't allowed to wear their hearing aids. "We have to communicate with sign language,” said Frentz. “It kind of levels the playing field for guys that don't wear either."

He also says it's about the bond and sharing the field with friends who've learned to adapt to a disability. "We've had so many similar life experiences with hearing losses. It's just something different about us that doesn't set us back."

Anyone wanting to help support Frentz's getting to the Deaf World Cup can click here.

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