Blindness can’t stop 10-year-old Greek Cypriot Mikey Poulli, who lives in London, from pursuing his dreams of playing soccer professionally.
Featured on The Greek Reporter – Link
After his parents took him for a routine eye exam when he was just six years of age, they received the shock of their lives upon hearing that he suffered from a rare condition called cone-rod dystrophy.
Tragically, doctors informed the family that the incurable genetic condition would result in blindness in just a few short years. Unfortunately, by the time he was 7, Mikey was left completely blind.
The fearless boy never let his diagnosis stop him, however.
Playing despite blindness
An avid soccer fan, particularly of the team Arsenal, Mikey loved watching matches with his dad from his earliest years.
The young athlete started playing soccer at a club at the tender young age of just five years old.
After his condition progressed, the dedicated boy continued playing his favorite sport even though he couldn’t see. Unfortunately, he had to stop playing with his soccer club because of safety concerns.
Despite these roadblocks, Mikey remained adamant that he would become a professional soccer player, and continued to play the sport with his family whenever he could.
Mikey’s dreams come true
After starting to play soccer with a team of other visually-impaired children at a special center, a soccer coach took notice of the young man’s natural abilities.
The coach was so impressed with Mikey’s talent that he called for scouts from the Football Association (FA), the governing body of soccer in England, to watch the boy play.
The FA representatives, stunned by his skill, offered the young athlete one-to-one coaching by a specialist, giving him hope that he could play for England one day.
Since then, he has continued training at his favorite sport with England’s top coaches.
Mikey’s dedication to his dream and awe-inspiring natural talent have attracted the attention of the world, including soccer star Lionel Messi, who recently gifted the boy a pair of life-changing artificial vision glasses.
Despite his many successes, the young soccer star and his parents have never given up hope in finding a cure for his condition. They are currently seeking help from specialists and eye doctors who have experience with the disease.