30 of Verbit’s team members took part in a unique and memorable experience with Israel’s Women’s Deaf Futsal Team this week. Following Verbit’s commitment to ensuring the team had the funds needed to compete in the European Championship in Montesilvano, Italy this fall, they participated in a meet-and-greet and practice match with the players. Verbit’s team members saw firsthand how the team, comprised of players who are deaf, communicate on the court. The group also took part in a sign language workshop.
Verbit’s team enjoyed the opportunity to connect and learn from a team that inspires so many. The meetup also spotlighted the importance of Verbit’s continued mission to boost accessibility and inclusion in all arenas of not just sports, but life.
“Yesterday’s meeting was exciting for me,” said Shelly Mencel, who manages the futsal team. “It was important for me to provide a perspective of what it means to be a deaf person and to shed some light on the state of deaf sports in Israel and particularly for women,” she said.
Background on Verbit’s involvement with the team
When the Israeli Women’s National Deaf Futsal Team earned a spot at the European Championship but lacked the funds to cover the trip, Verbit’s leadership stepped in.
Through a substantial donation, Verbit helped the team purchase the tickets and equipment needed to make their dream a reality. The commitment aligned perfectly with Verbit’s company principles.
“The team at Verbit and I are proud to continue to support the Israeli Women’s Deaf Futsal Team,” said Tom Livne, Verbit’s CEO, who attended the event. “This collaboration highlights our company’s values of ‘DO GOOD’ and ‘WIN TOGETHER’,” he said.
This week’s event offered a chance to connect with the players in person. Plus, Livne and his team participated in a sign language workshop that offered greater insights and perspective on what it means to communicate on the court.
Learning sign language with athletes who are Deaf
Verbit’s team members joined the futsal players for a sign language workshop. As a part of the demonstration, the Verbit team tried to read lips and took part in some exercises that helped them gain an understanding of how challenging this type of communication can be.
Chen Kroter of Simaniya helped those from Verbit learn basic communication skills in Israeli Sign Language or “Shassi.” Kroter taught the group a few key signs, including greetings and words like “yes” and “no.” Also, Maayan Hazut, a sign language interpreter, worked with the group to facilitate communication throughout the event.
The lesson also focused on some sign language that helped Verbit’s team prepare to be spectators and fans at a futsal game. Participants from Verbit learned the term for “applause” so they could cheer on the team during a practice game.
Learning these basic sign language skills gave Verbit’s team members a true taste of how audiences it serves communicate daily. It again highlighted the importance of making the world more accessible and inclusive to them, and others with varying abilities. As a company that provides captioning and other accessibility solutions, Verbit’s team was able to further understand the importance of accommodating diverse communication methods.
Exploring inclusive cheer practices
The team invited Verbit to watch a short practice game where they could cheer on the players. In addition to learning how to applaud in sign language, Verbit came to the event with cheering sticks. Cheering sticks are an aid that lets fans show the players support without using words or audible expressions.
Throughout the game, Hazut provided interpretations so that the spectators could understand what the coach and players were saying.
Learning some fancy footwork
After the practice game, the players invited Verbit’s team to join them on the court. The coach explained that in futsal, players interact more with the ball than they do in soccer. The players pass the ball frequently, and fast footwork is critical. Players paired up with members of Verbit’s team to teach them a few tricks and skills.
Continuing support and appreciation
For the players, the future looks bright, especially with the support from its fans and new friends.
“We thank you very much for coming and for the support along the way,” said Mencel. “We hope for continued cooperation in the future. Your team is awesome, and I can see these are good people,” said Mencel.
Verbit is a dedicated accessibility advocate and partner for professionals and organizations looking to create a more inclusive world. Visit Verbit’s customer page to learn more about our inclusivity efforts, accessibility solutions and how we’re helping our partners.