Etobicoke’s Damien Wojtiw knows a thing or two about saving.
The 33-year-old “hometown hero” is the goalkeeper for Canada’s Parapan Am 7-a-side football team.
According to Canada Soccer, Wojtiw has been playing soccer since he was a youngster and started goaltending at the age of 12.
He was Canada’s goalkeeper in its opening 3-1 win over Northern Ireland at the CP World Championships in June 2015.
On Sunday, Aug. 9, Wojtiw helped Canada score a big win against the U.S. during a high drama match at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Field on the University of Toronto campus.
According to Canada Soccer officials, the victory was particularly memorable for Wojtiw, who stepped in as goalkeeper in the second half.
A year ago, he was in the stands at the same stadium watching Canada lose to the U.S. for bronze at the America Cup. It was there he inquired about the possibility of playing for the Canadian team.
“It’s incredible to be here and make an impact in a win against the Americans,” Wojtiw said. “It’s humbling and I’m thankful for the opportunity and to coach Drew Ferguson for believing in me.”
Football 7-a-side is played by athletes with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders, including stroke and traumatic brain injury. The game is played on a reduced field of play and is made up of seven players including the goalkeeper.
Canada lost to Brazil, the top-ranked team in the competition, this morning by a score of 8-0. They are ranked third going into tomorrow's scheduled match against Venezuela at 11 a.m.
Argentina is ranked second