LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A MacArthur High graduate is kicking his love for soccer into high gear as he prepares for the 2016 Deaf World Cup, but he needs your help to get there.
After graduating high school in 2011, Patrick Shea, who is hard of hearing, joined the U.S. Men's Deaf Soccer Team. Shea says he tried out for the team and was selected after a friend put in a good word to the coach for him. Four years later, Shea and his teammates are headed to Italy to play on the big stage. But first, he'll have to raise $5,000 in order to get there.
Shea says each member of the team, who are located all over the world, are faced with the same task. If he doesn't raise the money, he won't get to join his teammates. The money will cover room and board, food and a little bit of sightseeing.
He hopes his home town of Lawton will rally behind him and help make his dreams of playing in the Deaf World Cup this summer a reality.
"For those who donate, I want to thank you all. I will not let you down. I will come in there on the filed guns a blazing," Shea said.
Shea's road to the Deaf World Cup hasn't been easy. After making the U.S. team, he had his work cut out for him. The coach told him at 180 pounds, he was too big for the team and if he wanted to stay he'd have to shed a few pounds. So, he did just that.
"For the five or six months after that I was just driven to lose weight. I lost 30 pounds, I gained a lot of muscle in my body and I'm pretty toned. I'm as healthy as I've ever been," Shea said.
The next task at hand is coming up with the cash to go. Shea says while it won't be easy, he's determined.
"It's every soccer player's dream, especially in the United States to play for U.S.A. and represent their country. Not very many can do that, but to be able to earn that title and play for the U.S.A. is a dream for me," Shea said.
Shea says the passion for his dream grew on the soccer fields of his high school alma mater, MacArthur High School, and wants to make them proud.
"It helped me gain the credibility and need of wanting to achieve more than just a high school player. I want to achieve college status, professional status and national team status," Shea said.
Shae says his goal is to give back to the family that helped him reach a dream through the sport he loves.
"Hopefully when my time comes, I will continue coaching the little kids and give back to the community as well," Shea said.
Shea has until April 15 to raise the $5,000 he needs to head to the Deaf World Cup. If you'd like to help him get there, check out his GoFundMe.
Shea says he gets his love for soccer from his uncles who also played the sport. The Deaf World Cup takes place in Italy in June.