In my post titled, “El Futbal es Asi-That’s Life” I briefly discussed amputee football in El Salvador. Jim Loudon, a former amputee soccer player who joined Team USA in 1998, played in four international tournaments until U.S. amputee football ended after the 2001 tournament in Brazil. Jim offered me valuable commentary and history on amputee football, which I will share here, in full:
This is the information I have concerning the background of the stamp [mentioned in my previous blog entry as a comment]. It is from a larger piece entitled “History of Amputee Football,” by Jim Frere of England. Jim is an amputee himself and played briefly for England’s amputee team before getting involved with a development position with the International Sports Organization for the Disabled, which has recently been absorbed by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation.
Quoting Jim Frere:
“It was at this time [the early 1980s] that Bill Barry created Amputee Soccer International (the first ruling body of international amputee football). He also had access to international travel, so having completed the “local development” of the sport he set about international promotion and development – his first success being in El Salvador- where recent civil disturbances had left a large number of amputees, mainly young fit
Mr. Barry also traveled into Eastern Europe in an attempt to introduce the game to anyone who would come out and watch – surprisingly in those days Russia declined to have anything to do with the sport as it was claimed that handicapped (disabled) people did not exist in that region!
Small international tournaments took place between USA, Canada and El Salvador – the matches being played 11-a-side on full-size pitches with full size goals – and it wasn’t until 1987 that the dimensions of both the pitch and goals together with some rules were adapted in order to create the first independent version of “Amputee Football”. It was during these early tournaments that a star was born, Jose Melgar Maravilla, nicknamed Rambo, who had an El Salvadorian postage stamp struck in his honour.”
The image on which the stamp is based is here: http://i30.tinypic.com/2pt2mme.jpg
I believe El Salvador’s last international appearance was at the 1991 Amputee Football World Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. I mentioned your blog posting to someone who I knew had played for the USA at that tournament. This was his reply:
“Yes we have quite a history with El Salvador. We beat them in Tashkent (about 1990). A couple of the players (Rambo and Oscar and Juan) stayed with Dee [Malchow] in Seattle. Dee also went down for a visit and met some player families. El Salvador was the first foreign team (except Canada) Bill Berry did significant work with.”
Dee Malchow is an interesting character in her own right. I believe she is one of the few women amputee soccer players ever to compete at the international level. More recently, she has been instrumental in introducing the game to Africa. There are now teams in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, Nigeria, and Ghana.
For more information about amputee soccer 2007 news, see http://www.loudon.org/soccer.
Posted By Larissa Hotra
Posted Jul 14th, 2008