Charlie wins trophies and praise from Harry Kane after major surgery

Teenage footballer, who was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, lifts Junior Premier League cup


A Jewish teenage footballer, who was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, has gone on to win a Junior Premier League cup just months after having open heart surgery — and receiving shout outs from the likes of Harry Kane and Idris Elba.

After contracting Covid in October 2021, Charlie Morris, 14, a student at St Columba’s College in St Albans, began experiencing symptoms when playing sports.

Charlie said: “I had stabbing pains in my shoulders. I couldn’t run for a certain amount of time and was breathless, so I had to take time off the pitch.”

Because Charlie had contracted Covid, doctors initially thought he had Long Covid, but after various investigations he was later found to have a congenital heart condition, with his right artery on the left side of his heart.

Six weeks later, he underwent open heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
While awaiting the operation, Charlie’s mother, Victoria, attempted to organise something that might inspire her son and “put out feelers” to friends and family, with the goal of attracting a message from Manchester United player Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen had collapsed on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest during a Euro 2020 match and was later fitted with a cardioverter-defibrillator, returning to football eight months later.

Victoria’s efforts not only netted Eriksen, who sent a supportive personal video message to Charlie, but also elicited responses from England team captain Harry Kane, players Bukayo Saka and Trent Alexander-Arnold and former player Jamie Redknapp. Actor Idris Elba and comedians Michael McIntyre and Jack Whitehall also got in touch.

“It went wild and was way beyond my initial hopes. We just wanted to make [Charlie] feel very supported,” Victoria said.

Six weeks after surgery, Charlie, who is a centre midfielder, was back in training, thanks to his “resilience and determination”, said his mum.

Despite having a mini stroke post-surgery, along with pleurisy and pneumonia, which led to further stints in hospital, Charlie joined a new team, the Pro Soccer Academy (PSA) U14s.

With PSA, Charlie racked up several trophies and won every tournament they entered, including the coveted JPL National Cup U14s, the JPL National Champions U14s and the London FA Champions Cup U14s.

On beating over 130 other teams to become the JPL National Champions U14s,
Charlie said: “The whistle blew, and everyone went ecstatic, celebrating and singing.

“There was a feeling of relief after we had won everything, especially after what I had been through.”

Charlie, who is six feet tall, is also an avid basketball player. Last October, he flew to Boston and New York to play on a school tour.

While there, Victoria contacted the National Basketball Association’s head, Adam Silver, who arranged for Charlie and his brother Alex to be ball boys at an NBA match.

Charlie also had a Zoom call with basketball player Shareef O’Neal, who suffered from the same condition.

Asked how he was feeling now, Charlie told the JC that he was “completely fine and doesn’t think about” his condition very much.

His mother said she would be “forever proud” of her son, adding: “It’s not something you’d ever expect a 13-year-old to have to deal with, but [Charlie] is just sensational and has faced it all head-on with openness, understanding and maturity.”

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