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July, 25, 2016

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Mexico amputee soccer players train for own Cup

MEXICO CITY -- Two World Cups of soccer will be held this year, and members of the Mexico City's Aztec Warriors are training tirelessly with the dream of playing in one of them.

Players race across the field on special crutches, dribbling and kicking fierce shots at the net. Their goal: The Amputee Soccer World Cup which will be held in Culiacan, Sinaloa from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8.

Most of the players lost a leg in car accidents or to disease. One player, Niseforo Bazan, lost a limb to a stray bullet in Guerrero state. The goaltender is missing an arm.

Some team members play while still fighting to overcome health issues. Alejandro Balurch, 17, had a leg amputated because of cancer two years ago and now practices as much as his chemotherapy will allow.

"We want to show that there are no barriers or limitations to attaining what one desires," said the coach of the Aztec Warriors, Carlos Espinosa.

Before the start of each game players remove the artificial legs they use, playing only with crutches and kicking the ball with their remaining foot.

Espinosa says that the players are practicing hard in the hopes that some of them will be chosen to join Mexico's national amputee soccer team that will play in Sinaloa.

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Jorge Morales, of the Guerreros Aztecas soccer team, or Aztec Warriors, controls the ball during a match with Los Dragones, or the Dragons, in Mexico City on Saturday. Most of the players lost a leg in car accidents or to disease. Morales said he lost his leg four years ago due to cancer. (AP)

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