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Global Dec 05, 2014

Micah “Shewit” Worton overcomes tragic childhood to star for Nashville FC U-13s

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Most every youth soccer fan is guilty of it. Players, coaches, parents and fans alike at one time or another have taken a game or a result too seriously when compared to more important things in life like family, friends and health.

But the beautiful game has a way of inspiring that emotional attachment. And that love of the sport helped Micah “Shewit” Worton overcome a terrifying incident that nearly took his young life, leaving more thankful now than ever to be able to lace up his boots and take the pitch.

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A standout youth player with Nashville FC’s 02 Rowdies Under-13 side, Shewit, 11 (pictured at top right above), was born in Ethiopia and experienced one of the roughest early childhoods anyone can envision. After his parents died when he was just a little boy, he was turned over to a man who put him to work herding sheep.

One day, while doing his rigorous daily task, a tiger appeared out of nowhere and attacked one of the sheep.

I was scared. I was shepherding the sheep and saw a tiger behind me, so I ran. It got one of the sheep,” Shewit, whose Ethiopian name means “He comes when dinner is ready,” recalled Monday in an interview with SoccerWire.com.

The owner of the sheep punished him severely, with physical abuse. But the beating was not the worst part of the unjustified punishment. Shewit was sent out into the streets before the age of five, where he survived for a year before being taken to an orphanage by a caring uncle that found him sick and suffering.

Malnourished, suffering from infection that drove him virtually to his death bed, it looked as if amputation of his feet was certain. There appeared to be no hope, but Shewit, who says his favorite thing to do is worship God, survived with an amazing recovery.

Now living in Tennessee and making a name for himself on the youth soccer circuit, his life in Ethiopia was nothing like it is now.

Adopted at the age of six to Nashville residents Mark and Missy Worton, Shewit plays center midfield for 02 Boys Rowdies, the top-ranked U-13 boys team in Tennessee (according to GotSoccer) who competed in the Disney Junior Soccer Showcase in Florida last week, carving out a 2-1 run in the demanding tournament’s Bracket D and falling just short of a place in the division semifinals.

+READ: Development Academy Winter Showcase kicks off in Fla. this weekend

I’m very thankful that I’m playing,” Shewit said. “It is really fun to play. My friends like to play it too.”

A talented player, he said he loves living in the United States because of the freedom here. He hopes to become a pro soccer player and loves eating barbecue, a Tennessee staple.

When looking back at his troubling East African childhood, he doesn’t remember much. He doesn’t recall how he survived on the streets of Ethiopia, but he remembers the pain.

But for now, Shewit (whose adopted first name, Micah, means ‘messenger with beautiful feet’) is an inspiration and a symbol of fight, strength and faith.

Shewit is one of the lucky ones. 

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