Smyrna resident and goalball champion Matt Simpson to compete in Parapan American Games

Two visually-impaired goalball athletes diving for the ball in front of a net

[Matt Simpson (r) of Smyrna, Ga., competes in the goalball competition at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. photo courtesy of the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes ]

Smyrna resident Matt Simpson has been named to USA Goalball Team for the Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile.

Simpson is no newcomer to top-level competition, and is a Paralympian and 2016 silver medalist.

What is Goalball?

Goalball is a sport popular among visually-impaired athletes. The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes describes the object of the sport as follows:

In goalball, two teams of three players each face each other across a court that is nine meters wide and 18 meters long. The object of the game is to roll a basketball size ball with bells inside over the opponent’s goal line. Your opponents listen for the oncoming ball and attempt to block it with their bodies. Once they are able to stop the ball and take control of it, they become the offensive team.

To read more about goalball and its rules, visit the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes’ goalball page by following this link.

To get all the details about the upcoming competition in Chile, read the press release about the event, reprinted below:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 3, 2023) – With the 2023 Parapan American Games representing the final chance for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games qualification, the United States will send an experienced roster of athletes to the November event in Santiago, Chile. Nine Paralympians are among the 12 athletes selected for the U.S. teams, including seven Paralympic medalists.

The U.S. teams will need first-place finishes in Santiago to secure their respective berths at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris. The U.S. men’s team can also qualify by finishing second to Brazil as the Brazil men’s team already achieved qualification for Paris by winning the 2022 IBSA Goalball World Championships. At the last Parapan American Games in 2019 in Lima, Peru, both U.S. teams earned silver medals finishing as runners-up to Brazil in their respective finals.

Five returning members from the silver-medal-winning women’s team that competed at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will lead the charge in Santiago. They include six-time Paralympians Lisa Czechowski (Boonton, N.J.) and Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.), three-time Paralympian Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.), two-time Paralympian Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.) and 2020 Paralympian Mindy Cook (Columbus, Ohio). They will be joined by Ali Lawson (Jasper, Ga.), a member of the 2019 Parapan American Games team that captured silver in Lima. The women’s team will be led by 2020 Paralympic Head Coach Jake Czechowski (Tucson, Ariz.).

“Playing against the best teams in the Americas region is a great challenge in itself,” Jake Czechowski stated. “The added excitement of playing for a Paralympic bid only enhances the highest levels of anticipation. Our team thrives in the biggest moments so I believe it will be a huge advantage for us. “

The U.S. men’s team is comprised of four Paralympians, including two Paralympic medalists. The roster includes four-time Paralympian Tyler Merren (Greenville, Mich.), two-time Paralympian Matt Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.) and their 2020 Paralympic teammates Zach Buhler (Huntington, Ind.) and Calahan Young (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Rounding out the men’s roster are Tre’Shaun Faison (Orange Park, Fla.) and Christian King (Virginia Beach, Va.). At the helm of the U.S. men’s team in Santiago will be 2020 Paralympic Head Coach Keith Young (Jacksonville, Fla.).

“Going into the 2023 Parapan American Games, I’m confident that this team understands what competition means for the Paris Paralympic Games qualification,” said Keith Young. “We are ramping up our preparation and are looking forward to the competition.”

The goalball competition at the 2023 Parapan Am Games will be held at the Centro de Deportes Paralímpicos from Nov. 18-24.

USA Women’s Goalball Team for the 2023 Parapan American Games
Mindy Cook (Columbus, Ohio)
Lisa Czechowski
 (Boonton, N.J.)
Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.)
Ali Lawson
 (Jasper, Ga.)
Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.)
Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.)
Head Coach: Jake Czechowski
Assistant Coach: John Potts
Athletic Trainer: Jennifer Brown

USA Men’s Goalball Team for the 2023 Parapan American Games
Zach Buhler (Huntington, Ind.)
Tre’Shaun Faison (Orange Park, Fla.)
Christian King
 (Virginia Beach, Va.)
Tyler Merren (Coral Springs, Fla.)
Matt Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.)
Calahan Young (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 
Head Coach: Keith Young
Assistant Coach: James Wallace
Athletic Trainer: Adam McDowell

All Parapan American Games roster nominations are pending approval of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.


About U.S. Association of Blind Athletes 
The mission of USABA is to empower Americans who are blind or visually impaired to experience life-changing opportunities in sports, recreation, and physical activities, thereby educating and inspiring the nation. A member organization of both the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and U.S. Soccer, USABA is certified by the USOPC as the national governing body for the Paralympic team sports of goalball and blind soccer. Since its founding in 1976, USABA has reached more than 100,000 individuals through its multi-sport programming. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. In 2022, USABA expanded its offerings of endurance sports events with the launch of its Team Tethered Together program for visually impaired runners and their guides. Learn more at