By Shannon Sigafoos
EASTON, Penn. (news.lafayette.edu) — When she first walks into a room, Ani Khachadourian ’25 seems like your average first-year college student. Clad in a Lafayette Athletics jacket with a bag of books slung over one shoulder, Khachadourian is bright-eyed and easygoing, with a warm presence and a natural ease for making conversation. But once you get to know her, you quickly learn that she isn’t exactly like the rest of her peers.
Born with a hearing impairment, the Cary, North Carolina, native has never known a world without sound. Thanks to a team of doctors and audiologists who screened her just after she was born, Khachadourian was able to be fitted with hearing aids when she was just 2 months old. And though she has never heard exactly the way everyone else hears, she hears well enough to never let her disability keep her from achieving her goals.
Soccer came into her life at the age of 3, following in the footsteps of a family friend who played soccer. The program she begged her mom to sign up for was called Lil’ Kickers, and from her first time on the field, she never looked back.
And through the persistence of balancing practices and school, she came to have a conversation in 2016 with someone who had a connection to the US Deaf Women’s National Team.
“I was at a practice, and the coach recognized that I had hearing aids because I had put my hair up. And he asked me if I was hard of hearing, and then mentioned that he knew the coach of the deaf national team. I had no idea what he was talking about,” recalls Khachadourian. “I gave him my contact information, and he connected me with Amy Griffin, the head coach, and assistant head coach Joy Fawcett, who was a member of the historic 1999 World Cup team. When I reached out, there was an upcoming camp that January. I attended that camp and have been training with them ever since.”