U.S. Goalball Teams Announced For Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

USABA logo

U.S. Goalball Teams Announced For Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA (June 9, 2021) – The United States Association of Blind Athletes has revealed the 12 athletes selected to represent Team USA at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the sport of goalball. The announcement was made Wednesday at Turnstone Center, an official U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and home to the Goalball Center of Excellence and the USA Goalball Resident Athlete Training Program.

Named to the men’s team were Zach Buhler (Huntington, Ind.), John Kusku (Commerce Township, Mich.), Tyler Merren (Coral Springs, Fla.), Matt Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.), Daryl Walker (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Calahan Young (Irwin, Pa.).

The women’s team members are Mindy Cook (Columbus, Ohio), Lisa Czechowski (Boonton, N.J.), Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.), Marybai Huking (Salt Lake City, Utah), Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.) and Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.).

At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the U.S. was the only country to have both its men’s and women’s teams reach the podium as the U.S. men’s squad captured the silver medal and the women’s team claimed the bronze. Nine of the 12 athletes named on Wednesday are returning Paralympians from the Rio Games and they boast a combined 21 Paralympic Games appearances and 14 Paralympic Games medals.

Kusku, Merren, Simpson and Walker all return from the silver-medal winning men’s squad in Rio. For Merren, Tokyo will mark his fourth Paralympic Games. He also won a bronze medal at the Athens 2004 Games and was a member of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Team along with Walker, who will be participating in his third Games. Buhler and Young will be making their Paralympic Games’ debuts in Tokyo.

The U.S. men’s team is fresh off a victory over defending Paralympic champion Lithuania in the finals of the Trakai Tournament last month.

“After the USA Men’s Goalball Team’s performance and victory at the Trakai Games, I’m fully confident that the six athletes selected for the Tokyo Paralympic Games will represent our nation well,” U.S. Men’s Goalball Head Coach Keith Young said. “We have veterans who have prior Paralympic Games experience as well as strong newcomers. Our program has moved through having a relatively new coaching staff brought on and a renewed focus on high performance programming, in addition to dealing with the COVID pandemic. I fully believe that we have a team where all six athletes can contribute on the court and face the best teams in the world.”

On the women’s side, the team is awash with experience with five of the six members returning from the bronze-medal winning Rio squad. Czechowski and Miller have been side-by-side for the last five Paralympic Games and Tokyo will mark their sixth straight Games together. As goalball teammates, they won silver in 2004, gold in 2008, and bronze in 2016. Prior to that they both competed in discus at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games where Czechowski was the silver medalist and Miller took the bronze. Dennis will be participating in her third straight Paralympics, while Huking and Mason will make their second straight appearance. For Cook, Tokyo will be her Paralympic debut.

The women’s team captured the silver medal in last month’s Trakai Tournament in Lithuania.

“Choosing the final roster for an event as prestigious as the Paralympic Games is never easy,” said U.S. Women’s Goalball Head Coach Jake Czechowski. “The depth of our player pool made this year’s selection especially difficult. We have great veteran leadership and experience with a combined 14 Paralympic teams. I expect our team to be ready for all the challenges and excitement that the Paralympics provides. This year, with all the changes and new protocols due to COVID, experience will be that much more valuable. The competition has never been stronger in women’s goalball, and we look forward to taking the court and competing against the best teams in the world.”

Alternates for the men’s team are Cody Carmicle (Lafayette, Ind.) and Sean Walker (Winchester, Va.), while Shavon Lockhardt (White Plains, N.Y.) will serve as alternate for the women’s team.

All selections to the Tokyo 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games goalball competition begins on Aug. 25 with the medal matches taking place on Sept. 3.

USA Men’s Goalball Team
Zach Buhler (Huntington, Ind.)
John Kusku (Commerce Township, Mich.)
Tyler Merren (Coral Springs, Fla.)
Matt Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.)
Daryl Walker (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Calahan Young (Irwin, Pa.) 
Head Coach: Keith Young
Assistant Coach: James Wallace
Athletic Trainer: Adam McDowell
Athlete Alternates: Cody Carmicle (Lafayette, Ind.) and Sean Walker (Winchester, Va.)

USA Women’s Goalball Team
Mindy Cook (Columbus, Ohio)
Lisa Czechowski (Boonton, N.J.)
Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.)
Marybai Huking (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.)
Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.)
Head Coach: Jake Czechowski
Assistant Coach and Team Leader: John Potts
Athletic Trainer: Jennifer Brown
Athlete Alternate: Shavon Lockhardt (White Plains, N.Y.)

USA Goalball Team Support Staff
Goalball Coordinator: Linda Welborn
Strength & Conditioning Coaches: EJ Whitney and Emilee Stemler
Resident Team Athletic Trainer: Joe Baer (Parkview Athletic Trainer)
Team Dieticians: Kate Davis and Liz Broad
Sports Psychology: Taylor Gabler (women’s team) and Ciaran Connery (men’s team)


CONTACT: Bill Kellick (USABA Communications Manager)


Q3 AVLNC Full Coalition Meeting

quarterly meeting of the avlnc

The Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition (AVLNC) is gathering for the quarterly meeting in April to discuss goals for Q3. Join the AVLNC on July 12th at 3 pm ET to be part of the one-year plan and get involved with the aging and vision loss efforts. Register to attend the AVLNC meeting


  • Q2 Accomplishments
  • Q3 Objectives w/ discussion
  • Ways to be involved in the growing initiatives

NFB National Convention

Ever Lee Hairston hugs President Riccobono at the 2019 banquet, both are smiling

The National Federation of the Blind National Convention is the largest gathering of blind people in the world. It is the premier event for training, support, and information for the blind community. It also serves as a governing body, democratically electing our leadership and establishing each year’s organizational priorities. 

Although the convention is open to all, our constitution states that only members of the NFB have the right to participate in decision making when it comes to organizational policy. If you are not already a member, join the NFB today

Date and Location

July 6 through July 10, 2021
Anywhere and Everywhere, virtual
More details coming soon.

Please note: the original 2021 national convention announcement in July 2020 indicated that the event would be held in New Orleans, LA. On February 8, 2021, President Riccobono announced that the 2021 national convention would be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


New CEO Affinity Group


July 26 at 2 pm Central

 This affinity group is for leaders of member organizations who have been in their position for 3 years or less. Open to VSA members only. See your latest eNew or contact to sign up.


Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit

Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit – Register Today!

VisionServe Alliance is a proud sponsor of the 10th annual Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health National Summit, on July 14-15, 2021. This year’s Summit will include a variety of presentations related to this year’s theme, “Our Changing Vision.”

The agenda will allow reflection on key vision advancements from the last 10 years and a look ahead at leading advancements, policies, and social issues that will shape how we approach eye health for the coming decade. And, we will recognize the importance of research expansion, shifting political leadership, and the elevation of the patient at the center of care decisions.

Presentations at the 10th Annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit will include:

  • Michael F. Chiang, MD- director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland- will serve as the keynote speaker, on July 14, addressing the key advancements in research, policies and social issues along with NEI’s role in vision and eye health.
  • Amy Dixon- Paralympic Athlete & President, Glaucoma Eyes International- will serve as a keynote speaker on July 15, sharing her personal story of triumph over obstacles and the importance of engaging the patient to reach the goal of a better health outcome.
  • On July 15, Ross C. Brownson, PhD- Lipstein Distinguished Professor of Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis- will serve as the closing keynote speaker, presenting on how public health is evolving to meet the current needs of our society focusing on the topics of health equity, the importance of prevention practices, early detection and care coordination, evolving surveillance needs, and effective public health interventions for vision and overall health. 

VisionServe Alliance’s virtual exhibit hall booth will be open from 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET on July 14, and 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET on July 15.