Centre students are known for representing the College well across the globe—including William Frentz ’13, who will join the Deaf Men’s National Soccer Team as they compete in the Deaf World Cup in Ankara, Turkey, this summer.
This will be Frentz’s second time playing on the national team at the Deaf World Cup. Frentz first played in the competition four years ago, after hearing about other opportunities for hearing-impaired athletes.
“I was around 15 when I read about a deaf national basketball team and I thought there would be a soccer team as well. I did some research and contacted the coaches and they invited me to Florida to try out for the team,” Frentz says. “I made the team when I was 16 and have been in the pool ever since.
The American national team did well last time—and Frentz is excited about their chances this year.
“We finished fourth out of 16 teams in the last tournament and hope to improve on that this summer,” he says. “We made it all the way to the semifinals, where we lost to Turkey. We get a rematch with Turkey this year, and we also play Germany and South Korea.
“It is such an honor to represent my country on the international stage playing the sport I love,” Frentz continues. “We have a very diverse team. We aren’t allowed to wear hearing devices —to ensure a level playing field—so it’s an adjustment playing without my cochlear implant.”
Aside from the team’s success in the competition, Frentz also had a great experience with his teammates four years ago, and looks forward to the camaraderie again.
“It was amazing, to say the least. I didn’t really know what to expect from the tournament and it turned out to be something I’ll cherish forever,” he says. “Years from now, I may not remember the scores from each game, but I’ll always remember the friends I made and what it felt like to represent my country.”
Unlike other national teams, Frentz and his fellow soccer players must pay their own way to the tournament—and are grateful for those who would like to help them make it to the Deaf World Cup.
“Since we aren’t funded by the U.S. Olympic Committee or the Paralympic Committee—because deafness is a ‘hidden’ disability—we have to fund our own way to these international tournaments. Many countries fund all their team’s expenses and they are able to train together more often, giving them an advantage in that regard,” Frentz says. “I have to raise $5,000, like every other player, in order to go to Turkey. If I fall short, I won’t be able to go, and the last thing I want to do is let my teammates down. Any donation is very much appreciated, and I promise I’ll do my best to bring a gold medal back to Danville!”
Traveling to Turkey for the Deaf World Cup won’t be the first time Frentz has traveled abroad this year: he is currently finishing a semester in Denmark at the University of Copenhagen.
“I’m studying Scandinavian history as well as Viking history. I was fortunate enough to get these credits approved towards my history major requirements and it’s been absolutely wonderful here,” says Frentz. “Being away from Centre has made me realize how much I love it there and I can’t wait to be back with my friends in August when I return for preseason.”
Frentz appreciates the encouragement he’s received from the Centre community as he prepares for the tournament.
“My friends at Centre have been very supportive, particularly the guys on the soccer team,” he says. “I’m excited for my senior season at Centre and I think playing in the Deaf World Cup will be a great tune-up for the fall.”
by Cindy Long
May 31, 2012