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Ali - It’s My Turn to Represent Team USA

March 26th, 2020

As a triplet with two brothers, Ali Lawson found herself growing up around sports. From playing baseball in the backyard to wearing team jerseys, sports became one of her favorite things.

When Ali lost her vision at 13 her mom found resources for her at the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired. It was here that Ali learned she wouldn’t have to hang up her jerseys or give up her love for sports and could continue being a part of a team.

She said, “I wanted to represent something more than just myself.”

Ali instantly fell in love with the sport of goalball and found herself aspiring to one day compete with Team USA as she honed her goalball skills. Ali was excited to once again represent a group collective and appreciated the hard work and training that the sport required.

After winning her first gold medal at Goalball Nationals in 2014, Ali was on the fast track towards her Paralympic goals with an invite to Team USA’s training camp in 2015.

Finally, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies in 2018, Ali moved to Fort Wayne to train in the U.S. Women’s Goalball residency program. The residency program is run through a partnership between USABA and Turnstone, using the Goalball Center of Excellence located on Turnstone’s campus. She committed herself to two years in the program, yearning to fulfill her dream of competing in the Paralympics.

Currently, Ali’s dream seems much more achievable than ever as she and the rest of the team train for the Paralympic Games scheduled to take place in Tokyo this summer.

As Ali works hard in hopes of representing her team in Japan, she is also making the most of her time in Fort Wayne, volunteering at the Wells Spring Shop and at the PFW Music Center. She says the Indiana weather is much more brutal than Georgia’s, but having a place to live and train with her teammates makes it worth it.

Ali believes having a place like Turnstone is essential to the team’s success because it leaves USA Goalball athletes with zero excuses. With a reliable, consistent, and elite training program, there is nothing standing between them and success.

Ali is grateful for the support of Turnstone and the Fort Wayne community as she finally fulfills her dream of playing Goalball at the International level. And hopefully, after a lot of hard work, it is Ali’s Turn to represent Team USA. 

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