Make-A-Wish, Republic FC gift soccer-loving Sacramento teen with new wheelchair

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A new set of wheels for Michael Watson helps him maneuver, kick and block in a sport that has sparked passion.

“I just really enjoyed starting to play soccer and I wanted to be as best as I can,” he said. “So, I wished for the chair that could help me do that.”

Michael, 19, was gifted a new wheelchair thanks to Make-A-Wish and the Sacramento Republic FC.

“Michael has a true passion for soccer and this has been something that’s really given him so much passion in life, you know, especially in the last year and a half,” Jennifer Stolo, the president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Northern California and Northern Nevada, told FOX40.

“It’s been exciting to see Michael and now he’s showing off his keeper skills for all of us to see,” Republic FC President and COO Ben Gumpert said.

Michael has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and has limited mobility, but always dreamed of playing sports.

“I’ve always wanted to play, like, a sport and I really couldn’t because of my disability,” he said.

Then, a friend told him about power soccer.

“Started doing it in December and just picked it up as a natural,” Terrie Watson, Michael’s mother, told FOX40. “It’s really nice.”

He became the Sac Valley Flames’ goalie and now plays with peers but, more importantly, is a friend among teammates.

“Able to maintain some contact with people with common interests,” Michael’s father, Steve Watson, said.

Michael’s old chair is a rental. Now that he has one of his own, he’s having a ball and promises to disappoint his rivals.

“You’re not going to get anything in,” he said.

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