Michael Thornton, 12, from Canada, has proved that having type 1 diabetes doesn’t stop you living your dreams, after completing football trials with some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including A.S. Roma, Inter Milan, Manchester City and Paris St-Germain.
Michael, who lives in Toronto, Ontario, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged six. It was a huge shock as there wasn’t any history of type 1 in the family, but Michael soon began to gain confidence in managing his type 1. He has since proved himself to be a top athlete, completing football trials with some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Kicking off in Italy
Michael’s international football trials started in 2012, when two Italian scouts were so impressed by a video of Michael's soccer highlights that they invited him to Italy to spend two weeks on trial at AS Roma. While there Michael was fortunate enough to meet the captain of the team, Francesco Totti. In January 2013 Michael returned to Italy to participate in more trials with two other Italian Serie A clubs – Inter Milan and U.C. Sampdoria. Michael captured the attention of the media, being one of the first diabetics they ever had participating in their academy. After receiving a successful report by the coaches and club, he was asked to come back again.
A match with Manchester City
Michael also came to the UK in January 2013 to trial for Manchester City, where he met Roberto Mancini, Head Coach, and players from the first team and former player Mario Balotelli (pictured). Michael was able to talk about living with type 1 diabetes and about JDRF, the work we do and how he is a type 1 ambassador for the charity. He then flew to Paris, France to meet with coaches at Paris St-Germain (PSG) where this would be his last trial before returning to Canada.
Michael and his parents have experienced a variety of world class soccer clubs and are now left with a decision to where the best environment would be for Michael to grow and develop in football.
Raising awareness of type 1 and JDRF
In August of 2012, Michael was the captain of the Canadian diabetic team, participating in the Medtronic Junior World Cup Soccer Tournament in Switzerland. Michael was lucky enough to meet the Canadian Prime Minister, in Ottawa, in November of 2012 where he raised awareness of JDRF.
He has been heavily involved with public affairs activity in Canada and has shared his type 1 stories with a number of MPs. While he travels the world showcasing his football abilities, Michael is commited to proving that children with type 1 diabetes can compete at the same level as those that don’t have the condition.
'My goal is to play professional football and every success I achieve will be not only for myself but for all individuals living with type 1 diabetes worldwide.'
Read Michael's story in full and watch a video of his trial with A.S.Roma »