For the second time in 18 months, two Idaho brothers will suit up for the U.S. men’s deaf national soccer team at a major international tournament.
The U.S. selected Braden Anderson, 21, and Dawson Anderson, 18, for its trip to the World Deaf Football Championships this week in Malaysia. Both also played for the U.S. at last year’s Deaflympics in Brazil, and the pair from Meridian have quickly made themselves regulars on the American roster.
“We’ve played 16 years of soccer together,” Dawson Anderson said. “We always dreamed of playing in a World Cup together, and now here we are in a World Cup together. It’s a dream come true.”
The United States opens the 19-team tournament Saturday against Malaysia. It plays in Group A with the host nation, Germany and Egypt.
The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf puts on the Deaflympics and the World Cup. Both are separate from the Paralympics. Players must have hearing loss of at least 55 decibels in their better ear. They cannot use any implants or hearing aids during games.
Both Anderson brothers were born deaf and use cochlear implants.
The tournament marks the first since U.S. Soccer brought the men’s and women’s deaf teams under its supervision. That’s made a difference, Braden Anderson said.
“This year we are fully funded by U.S. Soccer,” he said. “So we are able to grow and focus more as professionals.”
The brothers are two of just nine players on the American roster returning from the Deaflympics. Braden Anderson started three games and played in all four in Brazil. Dawson Anderson did not play at the Deaflympics but has since made his international debut in friendlies.
Both play in the midfield, though Braden Anderson fills an attacking role while Dawson Anderson keeps the team organized from a holding position.
Braden Anderson played two seasons for Spalding University, an NCAA Division III school in Louisville, Kentucky, before taking the semester off to focus on the World Cup. Dawson Anderson graduated from Rocky Mountain last spring.
“It’s always one of my proudest moments to play with him, and now he’s on the national team, too,” Braden Anderson said. “He was playing really well in the last camp, so I’m excited. Dawson and I train together, so we know where each of us wants to be on the field.”