Emily Spreeman has been a game-changer for U.S. Soccer and deaf athletes | Los Angeles Times

Emily Spreeman was born deaf, though her family was unaware of that until she was nearly 9 months old.

“My grandma was sitting next to my crib and my parents are like ‘I don’t think she can hear because the baby’s not waking to any loud noises’,” Spreeman remembered.

An audiologist quickly confirmed her parents’ hunch. But if Spreeman couldn’t hear, that’s all her parents believed she couldn’t do since her dad signed her up for a youth soccer team at age 4. Three years later she joined a club soccer program and proved good enough to be recruited by U.S. youth national teams and into the Olympic Development Program, where she played alongside Alex Morgan before going on to become a standout college player at Kansas.

“I’m a very competitive person. I just want to prove that I belong on the field,” said Spreeman, who was the Ventura County player of the year and all-CIF first-team selection at Buena High as a senior. “I’ve always been on a hearing team. That’s credit to my family, just showing that I deserve to be on the field and I belong with everyone.”

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