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Soccer team of Haitian amputees bring tour to U.S.

By Karen Smith, CNN
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon October 17, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The team is comprised of players who lost limbs during the Haiti quake
  • It will conduct conduct clinics and take part in demonstration matches
  • Zaryen is Creole for tarantula, which is known to keep attacking despite its wounds

(CNN) -- In the aftermath of Haiti's devastating earthquake in January 2010, a group of dedicated amputees who share a love of soccer emerged as a symbol of survival and rebuilding.

Team Zaryen, Haiti's first all-amputee soccer team, travels to the United States this week for its first tour.

The team will visit Washington D.C. and New York to conduct clinics and demonstration matches throughout the week as part of the "Haitian Inspiration Tour."

Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and the health service organization Project Medishare, Team Zaryen was formed by Capitan Wilfred Macena, after he received a prosthetic limb thanks to the help of the Healing Haiti's Children Program.

Macena was able to quickly recover and return to his athletic lifestyle after regaining full mobility, and formed the soccer team of other amputee patients in September 2010.

The team coined the name Zaryen, which in Creole means tarantula, because the spider is known to continuously attack regardless of its wound.

All 10 teammates received prosthetic limbs and a year of physical therapy from the same program.

The team was formed as a way to encourage others to overcome the stigma associated with amputees and as an encouragement to others who have lost a limb, according to the tour's website.

The team's tour begins Monday when it participates in a soccer clinic with wounded American service members at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

It will then spend two days at an RFK Stadium practice field, current home of Washington D.C.'s professional soccer team D.C. United.

The tour was formed in part as a way for Team Zayren to give back to the American military for their relief efforts following the earthquake

The team will also offer brief demonstrations of amputee soccer during professional U.S. soccer games in Washington D.C. and New York during the week.

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