USC Trackster Wilkins Propels Team USA Into 2012 Deaf World Cup
Dec. 6, 2011
USC junior track and field athlete Barry Wilkins is now making a name for himself in another sport...soccer! Excelling in more than one sport while at USC might not be that unusual, but now he is using his athletic training to compete for Deaf Team USA in soccer. Wilkins' two-goal effort in a 5-1 win over Mexico at the Pan American Games on Nov. 26 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela helped propel the USA into the 2012 Deaf World Cup to be played in Ankara, Turkey (July 16-28).
Wilkins, who grew up in Indianapolis, Ind., has roughly 55 percent of his hearing in his left ear, with slightly below that in his right ear. After the age of two his hearing started to deteriorate and really began to affect him after the first grade. Wilkins says that the biggest trouble is communicating, saying it's hard to understand words, whether in movies, classes or groups - including social groups and teams.
"Although it has defined me in a lot of ways, my main goal is not to let it actually stop me from doing anything I want to do," said Wilkins.
He runs the middle distances for USC in track and had the eighth-fastest 800m time on the team as a sophomore and the fifth-best time by a Trojan as a freshman when he ran a personal-best time of 1:53.71.
The USA soccer team finished 2-1-1 at the Pam American games with the only loss being a 1-0 loss to Venezuela on Thanksgiving Day when it allowed an "own goal" in the closing minutes. USA finished third at the Pan American games (7 points), but has been selected to compete at the 2012 World Cup despite finishing just behind Argentina (10 points) and Venezuela (9 points).
Wilkins made the U.S. Deaf Soccer Team in 2008 and played with them in Patras, Greece for the first Deaf World Cup. Team USA played in the 2009 Deaflympics in Taiwan, but Wilkins was beginning school and could not find the time to participate.
Wilkins says that he has been playing soccer since the age of four and it
is his favorite sport to play.