At the age of 9, Colombian José Richard Gallego (36, Bogotá) lost his hearing. At 15, he lost his sight. Gallego suffers from Usher Syndrome, the most common disease to leave its subjects blind and deaf. Adapting to life without these two important senses was undoubtedly the biggest struggle of Gallego’s life, but luckily, César Daza (41, Bogotá) and his project ‘Sin Límites SC‘ (sinlimitessc.org) stepped in to help. Best friends from the start, interpreter Daza helps Gallego navigate both life… and football.
With a wooden board that represents a playing field, Daza and Gallego invented a touch-based language in which the blind and deaf man is able to truly “feel” the beautiful game. Opposing fans of the two biggest rival clubs in Colombia, these two amazing men wear the opposing team’s jersey in a home stadium- and command tolerance. Onlookers can’t help but watch their game-interpretation with awe and respect.
Touched by Gallego and Daza’s incredible demonstration of peace and perseverance, LaLiga, with the hospitality and facilitation of FC Barcelona, invited the two Colombians to experience a FC Barcelona/Girona FC derby match in Barcelona. Meeting their fellow countrymen Johan Andrés Mojica and Bernardo Espinosa at Girona FC’s training grounds and Yerry Mina at FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, some of LaLiga’s biggest stars showed their support for peace in stadiums and acceptance of football lovers from all walks of life.
“I never imagined that I’d be in the Camp Nou. It’s amazing to be able to see, through César’s eyes, something so spectacular, to feel the lights and the warm reception of the people. I can’t tell you how special it was to meet Yerry (Mina) and Andrés (Mojica).” Gallego shared emotionally after the game.
“We traveled from Colombia to Europe with the support of LaLiga in hopes of spreading our message of peace and harmony, and I know the world is catching on.” Daza finished.
Gallego and Daza show the world that football is love, community, and most importantly – for everyone.