The Marian JV Girls Soccer Team is loaded with talent.
They are known as the Lady Knights, and while watching this team you'd never guess that one member wears a little different armor.
“I've got a prosthesis below the knee,” said Gena Keszei. “I've had it since I was one. I've grown up walking on it, I've played soccer on it. Run with it and swim with it. Everything. I can do everything everyone else can do.”
Freshman Gena Keszei was born with a deformed leg.
Andy Keszei, Gena’s father, said, “She went through 3 or 4 operations before she was 12 months old. We decided this was the best option to have it taken off. From 12 months old she's been on her plastic leg running around.”
In fact, nothing slows her down. Over the years she has participated in swimming, bowling, tennis, basketball, track, skiing, and even ballet.
“She twirled and danced around and had a great old time. Didn't miss a beat and didn't care at all,” said Kris Keszei, Gena’s mom.
Of all the things she wanted to try, Gena excelled at soccer. One of the most physically demanding sports around. It can get rough out there. And with Gena, there is always that risk of losing it.
Yes, her leg came off once in a game, much to the surprise of the opposing team.
Gena said, “They stopped in their tracks. Like oh my gosh I just ripped this girls leg off. What's happening, so everything stops except for my teammates who are laughing hysterically.”
Gena's great attitude is matched by her talent. This girl's got a great kick.
Erin Shindledecker, Marian JV Soccer Coach said, “She gives out probably more than a hundred percent knowing that she has to. But she earns everything that she has on this field. Nothing has been given to her. Nothing.”
“She's just like everyone else. She has your back when she's on defense,” said Molly Ogren, a teammate of Gena.
“Its just like, part of her. It doesn't make a difference on the field or anything,” said Mary Mattimore, another one of Gena’s teammates.
“Because you might have something considered a "disability" kids still have a dream, everyone has a dream. Things like this shouldn't stop you from wanting to achieve it and go after it. That's what I'm doing I'm going after my dream,” said Gena.
Her dream is one that is inspiring family, friends and entire soccer team.
The Marian Knight's JV team went an impressive 10-1- 2 on the season. They will host a tournament at Marion's soccer fields this Saturday.
That is where you'll find Gena, and her team, giving it their all.