BELLEVUE, Wash. — When a ball gets passed from the feet of Amy Griffin to the feet of Paris Price, so too does a torch.
Price is in her third year of varsity soccer at Mount Si High School. Griffin last played competitively three decades ago. However, the age gap is no match for the bond they share—a bond ignited by communication.
For Price, it's communication she'll never take for granted.
"I was born deaf, which is a super cool, unique thing about me," Price said. "At 19 months old, I was implanted with my first two cochlear implants.
"Once I got implanted, I went to speech therapy, which helped me learn how to speak and connect with other humans that can hear."
One of those connections came a year ago with Griffin.
"It took about, I don't know, three touches of the ball where we said, 'Oh yes,'" Griffin said.
Griffin, a former longtime assistant women's coach at the University of Washington, has served since 2015 as the head coach of the U.S. Deaf Women's National Team.
"It's been the best blessing I've been given," Griffin said.
It's been a blessing for Price as well.
"I'm the youngest player on the team, which is really cool and I just recently joined the team," said Price, who also recently won a gold medal at the Deaflympics in Brazil.
The team, which is comprised of girls and women with ages ranging from teens to 40 years old, has never lost an international match. They attribute much of their success to communication.
"Some of them are able to hear, some are cochlear implanted, and some are hard of hearing so they'll have regular hearing aids," Price said. "Then there's a couple players that don't hear at all, so they only speak through lip reading and ASL."
"To watch them work as one is pretty cool," Griffin said, adding that awareness about their success is a next step she'd like to see.
"There's a lot of deaf and hard of hearing people in the country that aren't represented," she said.
Griffin knows the feeling of being overlooked and what it's like to watch the world go silent.
She was a member of the 1991 U.S. Women's National Team that won the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup.
"In China, there were 80,000 people in the stands at the final. We came back home and landed in New York and there was one person," Griffin said. "It's why I love the deaf team so much, is I feel like the deaf team is exactly where we were back in 1991 where there wasn't a lot of awareness."
Griffin and Price hope that could be changing in the coming years—a trailblazer and a torchbearer working together for a better future.
"It's where I feel peace, it's where I'm able to express myself," Price said. "It's truly amazing to know I've found my community."