Strikers Help Fulfill A Dream


Khaliel Smith joined the Strikers for practice Tuesday, July 22, taking one small step toward fulfilling a big dream.

An 18-year-old student-athlete at South Plantation High School, Khaliel suffers from severe hearing loss and is largely dependent on visual clues – lip reading or sign language – for communication. But his affliction has not stopped him from pursuing his life’s dream: becoming a professional soccer player.

One might describe Khaliel’s passion for soccer as hereditary, his father having played for years in his native Jamaica. From the time Khaliel could walk he was playing soccer, trained primarily by his father. Now playing at South Plantation high school, he says he has his eyes on college and, eventually, the professional ranks.

Khaliel’s favorite part of the game, he says, is communication and teamwork. On paper, this might seem surprising, even ironic, given his hearing loss, but in the presence of his quiet confidence and beaming smile, it’s no surprise at all.

“I just like being with everyone on the team, passing the ball, communicating, playing good and winning,” Khaliel said after practice Tuesday.

Although Khaliel says his immediate goal is to play collegiate soccer, he also has his sights set on the long-term.

“I just want to show the world that the deaf don’t have to be afraid,” Khaliel said. “Focus, work hard and don’t give up.”


The Strikers would like to extend a special thank you to Salina Baaith, S.T.E.P. case manager for the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC). If you would like more information about the CHC, or to find out how you can help other patients like Khaliel, please visit

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