Team Learns Sign Language to Welcome Deaf Teammate

The junior women’s team and their coach signed up for a sign language class to support a new teammate who happens to be deaf.

Coach Ilija Lucić and Bosnia’s national junior women’s football team decided to reverse the national football federation rule on individual players assimilating into the team. When Jovana Stevanović, a talented player from the small town of Karakaj, joined the team, they welcomed her by taking a sign language class, as Jovana is deaf.

The new teammate is the second best goal-getter in Bosnia’s premier junior women’s football league. She plays for a local team in the town of Bijeljina. Her game caught the attention of coach Lucić, whose 30-strong team has training sessions in Zenica.

A coordinator for development of women’s football in the national football federation, Ivana Vlajić, commended the team’s effort to learn sign language: “Same as on the field, they want to understand her in regular communication, which will make the training sessions more engaging for Jovana, but it will also improve the game itself.”

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