Sept 2019 Pittsburg Soccer Now

Nearing the end of a Seton LaSalle High School’s boys soccer team’s training session in late October 2016, it was time to go through a round of practicing and preparing for penalty kicks as many playoff-bound teams do late in the season. Seton LaSalle’s players started to do what typically happens during end-of-practice PK contests — trying everything in vain to throw each other off and break each other’s concentration. Then came Tyler Stack‘s turn to take his kick.

As the freshman placed his ball down on the spot and turned to look at the goal, he could hear his teammates saying whatever they could to get into his head. “They were talking smack,” Stack said.

Before he lined up to take his kick, the team’s senior captain, and his older brother, Chris walked over to him to offer a little advice. “Take out your ears,” the elder brother relayed to his younger brother. The younger brother stepped back, then took his finger toward his ears, and gave himself a little edge by flipping off his Cochlear Implants.

Tyler Stack

When he ‘took off his ears’, Stack stepped out of the hearing world for that moment, and into silence. Stack then stepped into his kick, beat the goalkeeper with a flawlessly executed strike.

“After I took my ears out, then scored, my teammates just lost it,” Stack said.

“Kids were yelling things, and sure, Tyler could hear them at first. He embraced it, then had some fun with it,” Nick Balzer, Seton LaSalle’s Head Coach said. “That was one of those moments when things really opened up for him. When his teammates and coaches saw that he was a part of the team, that he could go along with everything. Not that they didn’t before, but they really embraced him after that.”

If you haven’t figured out by now, Tyler Stack is deaf.

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