From the Stands

Reflecting on the inspiring story of a boy who's mastered soccer without having any feet.

By Whitney Becker, Sports Editor

Not even a month after Oscar Pistorius wowed the world by competing in the Olympic 400m, 4 x 100m relay, the 100m and 200m races against runners without disabilities, eleven-year old Gabriel Muniz of Brazil is causing jaws to drop across the world.

Despite being born without any feet, Muniz has managed to become a big name in the soccer world after being asked to come train at F.C. Barcelona’s academy, where he’ll get the opportunity to train with top soccer athletes in the world.

Videos of young Muniz playing the sport recently have gone viral.  It’s clear from watching them that the other players have begun to take Muniz seriously, as they should.

Not only does Muniz get the chance to meet his idol, Lionel Messi, but he has continually proved that he is just as good (and probably better) than most of the kids his age.  For him, it’s a dream come true.  Although the Paralympics doesn’t have 11-a-side soccer as a sport at the moment, we’ll see if they make any changes after Muniz has made such a mark.

Despite some doubt that Muniz will ever get the chance to play on a professional team, I’m not so sure.  If he’s talented enough to catch the eye of Barcelona recruits, it seems a possibility that he could play on the professional level.

Is this another Oscar Pistorius-like story on the horizon? Maybe so.  For now we’ll just have to wait.

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