All athletes are told at some point in their lives that they will need to retire from the game. For some it comes at 19, while for others it may come when they are 40. Former professional soccer player Simon Keith would call the time when he was told he would no longer be able to play a “moment”.
The former Canadian International grew up playing soccer in Victoria and now lives permanently in Las Vegas. However, Keith made a trip back north of the border and was in attendance on Wednesday at the ‘Caps match versus FC Edmonton. Before the match he made a special presentation to Whitecaps FC Residency and women’s players and gave them a copy of his book Heart for the Game. The former forward is currently the longest living individual in the world to have received a heart transplant. At 19, Keith was diagnosed with a deadly heart disease and he had to receive an emergency heart transplant.
“The key to any transplant is to try and get the recipient back to the life they were living before the transplant,” said Keith. “It was three months after my transplant that I wanted to start exercising again.” The Victoria, BC, native started his road to recovery on a cold wet day in London, England where he could get no further than 100 yards before he felt he was going to collapse. “This was my moment,” stated Keith “I had to decide what I was going to do.”
Keith tackled his moment head on and kept pushing himself to the point where he earned a scholarship to the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). He was then drafted first overall in the Indoor Soccer League (ISL). The forward had gone from playing professional soccer in London, England to being on his hospital bed, to tackling his moment, and coming all the way back to play professional soccer once again.
Check out this inspirational video of Keith’s story:
To learn more about Simon Keith and his inspirational story, visit thesimonkeithfoundation.com.