The United States Soccer Federation mourns the death of former Paralympian and impaired athlete Eli Wolff. From 1995 to 2004, he was a member of the United States Men’s National Team with Cerebral Palsy and competed in the Paralympics in 1996 and 2004. He then dedicated his career to a more inclusive sport.
“Eli has been a tireless servant of football for decades,” said Stuart Sharpe, senior director of technology and grassroots for the United States Soccer Expansion National Team Division. Eli’s greatest effect has arguably been off the field, as he seeks to give a place for everyone, regardless of background or ability, to feel empowered and joyous in sport through his tireless global advocacy activities. “Everyone in US Soccer is thinking of their families and sending them our best wishes.”
Wolff was an athlete representative on the US Soccer Association’s Disability Soccer Committee for many years and has been an effective leader in advocating for access for athletes with disabilities. Wolf most recently taught sports administration at the University of Connecticut, where he also co-founded the Sports International Disability, Human Rights Athletes, and Olympic Program. He also collaborates with the Sports potential Lab, the Human-Centered Design Institute’s Inclusive Sports Initiative, and a number of other groups that are concerned with the inclusive and unifying potential of sport.
During his career as a para-sports advocate, Wolf helped establish the ESPY Awards for Best Male and Female Para Athlete, organized a campaign to support golfer Casey Martin’s case against the PGA in the United States Supreme Court, and lobbied for its inclusion in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ Sports-related provisions.
Wolfe qualified for the men’s CP national team after suffering a stroke as a teenager. Wolf also represented the US at the CP Soccer World Cup and three Pan Am Games during his ten years with the national squad.
U.S. Soccer extends its heartfelt sympathies to Wolff’s family, friends, and everyone in football who has been touched by his death.