March 5, 2020, published on

Sergio Rivas could hardly see. Could only find the soccer ball when it was right in front of him. Could barely make out teammates’ jerseys, and not their faces. He squinted, as if scrunching his face would yield clearer vision. Didn’t help. He sprinted ahead, but the grass was blurred, a faded forest green. Dusk was approaching—the pitch turning a muddy brown, the sky a charcoal black.

Now Rivas really couldn’t see. Only feel. But he had to perform. The now-22-year-old soccer player still remembers how the college scouts huddled in the stands at that tournament in Dallas back in 2013. They looked like tiny dots to Rivas, who at the time was a high school junior.

His defender pressured him, but his feet knew where the ball was, where it was supposed to go. They moved the ball, quickly, before the pressure closed in.

For years, Rivas had been playing this way. He could barely see, but growing up he didn’t have anything to compare that to—didn’t know it was different for anyone else. He figured everyone else just saw faint colors, faint shapes, as he did. And once he realized he didn’t see the same way others did, he still couldn’t do anything about it, so he just hid it. He didn’t want anyone to know, fearing that if they found out, they wouldn’t let him play anymore. When he had to take an eye exam at his school physical, he stressed over whether he could guess or make out just enough letters to be cleared to play. (READ FULL STORY HERE).

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