back to thumbnails

MEXICO: Guerreros Aztecas - Mexico's first amputee soccer team

Image 10 of 23
< Prev Next >
Rodrigo Fernandez Loya (C), a player from Guerreros Aztecas and Los Dragones (“the Dragons”) during a match in Deportivo Tlalli II in Talnepantla, Mexico on September 27, 2014. Rodrigo, 25, lost his left leg in 2012 when he saved a girl from an onrushing train. Involved in a local 'barrio' gang until his accident, he says that the self-discipline he has developed during his time with Guerreros Aztecas has helped him turn his life around and he is currently studying for his high school diploma. Rodrigo has made the shortlist and is one of the team's biggest hopes to represent Mexico at this December's Amputee Soccer World Cup in Sinaloa. Guerreros Aztecas (“Aztec Warriors”) is Mexico City’s first amputee football team. Founded in July 2013 by five volunteers, they now have 23 players, seven of them have made the national team's shortlist to represent Mexico at this year's Amputee Soccer World Cup in Sinaloa this December. The team trains twice a week for weekend games with other teams. No prostheses are used, so field players missing a lower extremity can only play using crutches. Those missing an upper extremity play as goalkeepers. The teams play six per side with unlimited substitutions. Each half lasts 25 minutes. The causes of the amputations range from accidents to medical interventions – none of which have stopped the Guerreros Aztecas from continuing to play. The players’ age, backgrounds and professions cover the full sweep of Mexican society, and they are united by the will to keep their heads held high in a country where discrimination against the disabled remains widespread. (Photo by Bénédicte Desrus)