USMNT vs Jamaica VW CHAMP Player Honoree: Wes

October 7th 2022 Concacaf World Cup Qualifier – USMNT v. Jamaica – Austin, TX

Wes is an 11-year-old boy born with congenital heart defects. He had two open heart surgeries in his first 8 months of life and another at the age of five. He struggles with many medical issues including autoimmune issue like dermatomyositis and celiac disease. He also wears hearing aids due to hearing loss since the age of 3.

Wes has loved many sports including soccer, baseball and basketball since he was a toddler. His coaches are always amazed by his perseverance despite his complicated medical journey. It’s hard for Wes to keep up with his peers due to his cardiovascular history but it doesn’t stop his determination to keep going.

Currently, soccer is his favorite sport and he plays on a rec team. Being part of a team has also helped Wes feel less alone despite his medical issues and better connected to a community of peers.


He has had many obstacles in his life with all his medical issues, but he has persevered! Wes told us, "What's been hard is because of my heart surgeries I don't have the same endurance and stamina as other kids on my team. I try my best but it's hard to keep up. Believing in myself and not giving up helps me stay positive."