Football is in 14-year-old Dominic Kramberger’s blood. The Swede went to his first game when he was just two weeks old and his father sang him to sleep with football chants.
He started playing when he was five, but in April 2020 Dominic dislocated his leg during a football game.
After the accident, he was soon diagnosed with an unusual and aggressive cancer and, in addition to heavy chemotherapy treatments, doctors decided to amputate the lower part of his right leg.
“My body was completely knocked out,” he says.
But Dominic’s football career didn’t stop there. In April 2021, he received a prosthesis and represented his country in Gazprom’s social program for children, Football for Friendship (F4F).
The initiative saw participants – girls and boys aged 12-14 – participate in an online game, F4F World, which was developed especially for the event.
Every child who entered had a story to tell, with F4F combining football and educational events for children from around the world.
Dominic is still recovering from his illness and will complete chemotherapy at the end of September.
He says he felt lucky to be part of such a “fun and inspiring initiative, making friends from all over the world”, but his new friends and the program guideline think he is the true MVP (Most Valuable Player).
The daily challenges he faces have not robbed him of his motivation: “It’s hard, it’s really hard, but I will solve it,” he told Euronews.
The Swede trains for about two hours a day to strengthen his thigh muscles. “My goal is to walk without crutches before the end of the year and return to my soccer team as a goalkeeper,” he said.
Where does Dominic get his great motivation from?
“Most of the positivity and attitude to never give up comes from my family,” he explained, appreciating his father, mother and effort. “They’ve always pushed me to do what I want, and to never give up on being the things I want to be.”
“I think it’s in my head, I always think I should be the best and never give up. So that’s it.”
Dominic said he hopes to become a professional footballer in the future, “but if that’s not possible maybe a journalist or referee.”
The teenager was inspired to become a journalist by his new international friends and also after he got the chance to interview football star and F4F ambassador Roberto Carlos.
His question was chosen as part of a group of young budding journalists’ initiative to be presented to the former Brazilian player during a press conference.
“It was so nice talking to him,” Dominic says, “I didn’t think I could. When he said I could go to Madrid to watch a football match I was so happy. I had no words.”
For the past eight years, Football for Friendship has brought together young people from all over the world to share their love for football, practicing the core values of the initiative: friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, dedication, victory, traditions and honor.