HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Later this month, Houston's Robert Ferguson will depart for Turkey where he'll compete for Team USA in the Amputee Soccer World Cup. However, it will not be Ferguson's first trip to Turkey wearing the stars and stripes.
"This time, I'm not there to hurt people physically, but just their feelings when we score on them," Ferguson said during an interview with ABC13.
While serving his country, Ferguson launched aircraft from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. He'd later lose his leg during a training exercise at Fort Hood, which helped lead him to amputee soccer. Now, he's weeks away from playing in the World Cup, his sport's biggest stage.
"It's starting to hit, and I'm starting to get warm inside, and a little nervous," he admitted. "I couldn't be more proud of this journey. Because of my journey, I've given other people from Texas the ability to take that journey and become members of the U.S. national team."
Ferguson is the founder of the Lone Star Adaptive Soccer program - a statewide organization giving opportunities to athletes of all ages living with limb differences.
"We work on the whole person," Ferguson explained. "We work on the mind, the body, and the spirit, and teach these kids they are not their injury."
"Normal is boring," he said smiling. "Be proud of who we are, and show them we are just as strong as anyone else that's out here playing the game - if not stronger. Because we do it with less."
Of the 14 players on the U.S. World Cup roster, six are part of Lone Star Adaptive Soccer.
"To put my kids on that stage and in front of those cameras, and let them feel the joy and the pride of wearing that uniform - that's the biggest thing for me," he said.
At 43 years old, Ferguson tells us this will be his final World Cup as a player, but his influence on amputee soccer will be felt for years.