EBOLI, Italy – It was a fitting end to a soccer career 25 years in the making.
Gallaudet University women's soccer head coach Liza Offreda celebrated with her Team USA teammates here during the awards ceremony for the 2016 Deaf World Cup. Team USA successfully defended its women's soccer deaf world championship with a 3-0 win over Russia on July 2.
Offreda, who will begin her third season as GU's head coach this fall, was able to retire and walk away from her soccer-playing career as a world champion.
"After the final whistle blew, 10 years with Team USA flashed before my eyes and I couldn't help but feel sad it was all over," said Offreda this week while visiting family in Italy.
"It was a humbling experience to have the support of my family and friends in Italy and America. I have played soccer for over 25 years and never thought I would be lucky enough to retire and walk away as a champion on Italian soil where my father is from."
Offreda was named to the Best 11 (Team of the Tournament) as one of 11 top players in the tournament. Team USA went 5-0 during the preliminary rounds as it outscored opponents 22-2 in five games.
Gallaudet women's soccer student-assistant coach Meghan Maiwald was Team USA's captain and starting goalie. Maiwald started the first four matches and the championship match where she allowed one goal in five games and posted four shutouts while playing through an injury.
"The raising of the Deaf World Cup trophy and the playing of our national anthem was just priceless! I am just so proud to wear the crest on my jersey, represent the United States of America and the deaf community," said Maiwald.
Amy Griffin, a former U.S. women's soccer national team member and Women's World Cup champion, coaches the U.S. Deaf Women's Soccer team. Griffin is joined by assistant coach Joy Fawcett, two-time World Cup champion with the U.S. women's national team and won gold in the Olympics.
"We experienced a whole new level of awareness and support thanks to the power of social media and word of mouth; especially with current and retired US Women's National Team players," added Maiwald. "As a team, we felt an enormous responsibility to perform well for our family, friends, fans and supporters in Italy and back home in the states. Not only we performed well, but we dominated from start to finish and raised the standard of deaf soccer internationally"
Team USA Deaf Women's Soccer is now 29-0 since the 2005 Deaflympics. They won the 2012 Deaf World Cup in Ankara, Turkey, and are the three-time defending Deaflympic Gold Medalists (2005, 2009, 2013).
NOTE: The U.S. Deaf Men's Soccer Team finished sixth overall at the 2016 Deaf World Cup. This was the program's second highest finish ever in this tournament (fourth in 2008).
U.S. Deaf Women's Soccer Results at 2016 Deaf World Cup
Match 1: USA 3, Turkey 0
Match 2: USA 4, Russia 1
Match 3: USA 4, Great Britain 0
Match 4: USA 7, Italy 0
Match 5: USA 4, Poland 1
Match 6: USA 3, Russia 0
- 2016 Deaf World Cup - Host Website
- Women's Soccer Deaf World Championship Final Video Highlights (YouTube)
- U.S. defends title, captures Deaf Women's World Cup (espnW.com)
- USA Deaf Soccer
- Facebook Photo Gallery: Liza Offreda, Meghan Maiwald photos from Deaf World Cup
Photos Courtesy of Quinn Fitzgerald - https://quinngenuity.com/