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Friday, August 3, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English

A Soccer Team for Amputees in Haiti

In Haiti there is a soccer team unlike any you have ever seen. It is made up of players who have lost legs and arms, mostly during the earthquake in 2010.

Just as the players are different, so is their field, called a "pitch." People live near it. There are pools of water on it. And cows walk by.

The players kick with the same leg they stand on. Goalies defend with the only arm they have. The team is called Zaryen. That is Creole for "tarantula" - a spider that can live without one of its legs.

A balcony collapsed on Judithe Facile during the earthquake. She was near death. Soccer has brought her back to life.

JUDITHE FACILE: "Now I feel like I'm alive. Because, before that, after I lost my leg, I didn't have any hope for the future, even though I was walking on crutches."

Cedieu Fortilus says the players have changed the way Haitians think about the disabled.

CEDIEU FORTILUS: "When I see they are playing like that I'm so proud. I'm so proud. I think I'm doing a good job. So, I see so many people, even Haitian, if they are crossing the street, they take time to look at them because they are doing something very strange. Something many Haitians never see in their life."

Several organizations in the United States give money to the team, and pay for artificial arms and legs for all Haitians who need them.

Cindy Orange says:

CINDY ORANCE: "Soccer has taught me to do a lot of things on one leg that I wasn't used to doing before. I feel comfortable when I'm playing."

I'm Mario Ritter.