“Brotherhood”: A Deaf high school football team hopes to make history at the state championships


These teens are on an unbroken winning streak, both on and off the pitch.

The Riverside Cubs have an impressive record. High school football has had an unbeaten season. Now, they only have one chance to win their division title.

Their success is down to one thing. The secret to their success? According to the coaches and players, it’s all about the fact that they are all deaf.

That’s right. The team at California School for the Deaf does not believe that being deaf is an additional challenge. They see it as an added strength that they bring to the game.

Trevin Adams, a player, explained that hearing people use their eyes less and are more alert visually than us.

While some teams might struggle to hear one another in the huddle, or pick up the cues from their coaches, the Cubs can seamlessly communicate with each others using hand signals and enhanced visual awareness.

David Figueroa, offensive lineman and defensive tackle, said that it was a huge deal. It’s huge for me as well as the football team. My football team is my belief. These guys are my team. They can do it, I believe.”

All the players trust Keith Adams, their head coach.

Adams said, “I’m very proud of our team,” to Erin McLaughlin from NBC. “They’ve come so far. They are not giving up. They persevere. They work hard and are close to achieving their goals.

They aim to achieve a clean sweep season, a championship win, and respect. Their story is quickly making national headlines.

Adams said that it felt overwhelming. It’s been nonstop receiving messages, congratulations, and well wishes; it’s overwhelming. Some NFL head coaches have been there. I received congratulations from the Tennessee Titans. It was just amazing.

They are riding high. This is a refreshing change from their previous experiences with being under-reported by the hearing community.

Felix Gonzalez, who was a star of the offense, said that “a lot of hearing people say, “Oh yeah, deaf persons can’t handle this; they can only do that.” They aren’t smart enough because they are deaf.

He first saw it when he was only 5 years old, and was brutally bullied by his coach.

He recalled, “I played until my fault,” “The coach would get mad at and yell at my, and I was the only deaf person in the team. He would smack me. He would shout at me. It made me very upset and I would get home crying.

It’s a completely different world for him at the Cubs, where his teammates and their coaches are highly valued.

He said, “It’s definitely brotherhood with that team.”

Figueroa agreed, saying, “Even at weekends, on campus, we don’t ever lose that connection.”

The Riverside Cubs will be on the field Saturday, the highly anticipated championship game. Fans will get to witness the benefits of this bond. It will be their first ever division title if they win.

It’s evident that this team is full of winners, regardless of the score.