Colombian forward Linda Caicedo was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 15 but recovered to play soccer at the highest stage. At 18 years and 153 days, Caicedo, who signed up for Real Madrid earlier this year, is the second-youngest South American player to score a goal in the football World Cup
Overcoming a battle with ovarian cancer, Colombia forward Linda Caicedo, who signed for Real Madrid earlier this year, seized the spotlight in her FIFA Women’s World Cup debut with a skillful goal against South Korea in Brisbane. The 18-year-old star was diagnosed with ovarian cancer aged 15 but recovered to pursue a career in soccer and represent her country on the biggest sports stage.
After undergoing a major operation to remove a tumor and six months of chemotherapy, Caicedo heroically made her way back to the ground, determined to carry on her football journey. Backed by her family and national coach Nelson Abadia, she made an amazing recovery and reclaimed her position in the Colombian national team.
“I am very young, extremely young in fact … I have to enjoy this tournament. No pressure. I know how young I am, everything that I (still) have to learn, the experience that I have to get,” news agency AP quoted Caicedo as saying after Colombia’s 2-0 win over South Korea on July 26.
The teenager is likely to feature in her country’s upcoming World Cup game against Germany in Sydney on July 30.
She is a hero among the LGBTQ+ community in Colombia having come out as gay. The Colombian star also campaigns against marine plastic pollution.
At 18 years and 153 days, Caicedo became the second-youngest South American player to score a goal in the history of the football World Cup, with legendary Brazilian icon Marta being the only other player doing so at a younger age.
“In 2016 I started with youth divisions, I had Linda here, she was 12 the first time I took her to the national team,” BBC quoted Abadia as saying. “She evolved from there.”
Hailing from a humble background in Candelaria, Colombia, the teenage football player never forgets the sacrifices that have brought her to this point. She returned to Candelaria recently to donate 100 grocery bags of food to those in need, highlighting her pledge to giving back to her community.
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