Rye athlete overcomes disease, turns hoop dreams into soccer skills

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Rye's boys soccer team is a section champion for the first time since 1979. At the center of their run is a player providing plenty of inspiration.

Connor Camacho isn't your ordinary soccer player -- in fact, before high school, the senior defender wasn't a soccer player at all.

"Basketball was pretty much my life. I played from the age of 3 up until between sixth and seventh grade," says Camacho. "I was pretty good, top 150 in the country or so. And then, between sixth and seventh grade, I just woke up one day and I couldn't move either of my arms or my neck."

Camacho was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis, ending his hoop dreams. But it didn't stop him from finding ways to stay active.

"All my friends were soccer players, so they sort of, they were like, why don't you try soccer?" says Camacho.

But with only one fully functional arm, nothing is easy. Persistence became his secret weapon.

"He's stepped up big time," says Jasper Nusbaum, Connor's teammate. "He's made it happen for himself through hard work and really just makes you wonder what you can do."

Camacho will be starting at center back as his team goes for a state title beginning Wednesday.

 

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