Daniel is proof of the power of dreams in football
DANIEL Campbell was given a cherished gift in life.
Adopted in Ethiopia as a six-month-old boy and brought to Australia by his family, Daniel has overcome the challenges put before him by Cerebral Palsy, which affects both of his legs.
On the football pitch, he's risen to the top of the game to represent his country.
The 15-year-old will on Saturday realise the pinnacle of his footballing career, donning the gold of the Pararoos in an international against Canada for the first time on home soil.
It's the Pararoos' first game in Australia since the Sydney Olympics, 19-years ago.
"Football has always been a huge part of my life - for me, there is no other sport," Campbell said.
"My team mates and coaches support me, inspire me, challenge me and push me to aim high.
"I hope that players who aspire to State and National selection don't let occasional disappointment stop them.
"I have always persisted and never given up - disappointment makes me try harder."
From a young age, Daniel's skill on the pitch shone through, despite the impact of Cerebral Palsy on his legs.
"My journey to becoming a Pararoo started in 2016 when I was 13 and I attended my first NSW Paralympic training camp," he said.
"When I was 14 I was selected in the NSW squad to play in the 2017 National Championships.
"2018 was an amazing year for me.So many firsts - and so many amazing memories.
"Playing in the National Championships in 2017 provided me with the opportunity to be selected to attend the Pararoos training camp at the start of the year.
"In July I was selected as a member of the 14 man Pararoos squad which travelled to the USA.
"Representing my country was something I had always dreamed of, and was such a huge, indescribable honour. Campbell's first cap came for Australia in a game against the USA.
"It is a moment I will never forget - I came on as a sub and played for 20 minutes," he said.
"I was nervous - it was daunting to be on the field with such experienced players- but my team mates were very supportive and gave me the confidence to step up and play my best.
"Playing in the USA was an amazing opportunity and provided me with invaluable experience competing against high ranking international teams.
In November, last year, he travelled with the Pararoos to compete in the Asian Cup before the Pararoos played in the World Cup in Spain earlier this year.
Daniel's mother Ann Crampton said the family was immensely proud when Daniel was named the Young Pararoo of the Year.
"Daniel has had an incredible year of football and is just so determined to play well for Australia again on Saturday," she said.
Campbell said the award has spurred him on in his training.
"It was an honour to receive such a prestigious award, and I was very humbled to receive it in my first year as a Pararoo," he said.
"I am proud to be a Pararoo and I am thankful to be a part of the Pararoos family.
"I have only been a member of the Pararoos for one year and already I have been provided with so many opportunities and experiences that I could not have imagined.
"I continue to train hard to improve my game and play my best so that I may continue to represent my country.
"I hope is that one day the Pararoos will be recognised in the same way as the Socceroos and the Matildas."
You can support the Pararoos.
Every tax deductible dollar raised through the Australian Sports Foundation will go directly to the Pararoos.
Donating to the Pararoos will not only help get the team to this year's 2019 World Cup, but it will also encourage many more aspiring disabled footballers, just like Daniel, to continue to strive for their dream.
Join the squad and donate here.
The Pararoos v Canada,
Saturday, November 30 Cromer Park (South Creek Rd, Cromer)
Kick-off at 5.30pm