Toronto FC SuperDraft pick Griffin Dorsey thanks inspirational 8-year-old

Most players who get to make a speech at the MLS SuperDraft soak in the moment, and reflect from a personal perspective. And given the moment, who can blame them?

Griffin Dorsey took a different tack in his podium speech after being selected No. 6 overall by Toronto FC in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas.

The Generation adidas midfielder, out of Indiana University, took a moment to recognize a young boy, named Caleb, who had what Dorsey described as a "tough diagnosis, including immunodeficiency."

As Caleb stood amid the crowd at the draft, Dorsey said simply, "I play for you."

The eight-year-old, who is battling several medical ailments and wears a mask because his white blood cell count is decreasing, was introduced to Dorsey's Indiana squad prior to a big game against Maryland this past NCAA season. The Hoosiers went on to win the match 2-1. 

With Caleb again in attendance on Friday in Chicago, Dorsey was asked to elaborate on his remarks about his young guest. He responded, saying the reason for sports is to provide relief and inspiration on both sides. 

"It's amazing," Dorsey said of Caleb's presence. "It's part of the reason why people play sports and I'm just excited to have him here."

The 19-year-old Colorado native impressed while at Indiana, where he made two trips to the NCAA College Cup, and was a second-team All-American last season. Dorsey was gracious in appreciating the training he received in college.

"I think everything prepared me," he said. "All the teammates I had, whether they're signing or not signing right now, they'll help prepare me to be where I am right now, and I thank them for that."

While Dorsey's professional career begins, he noted leaving school early wasn't easy.

"It is a hard decision [to leave school early]. I made family, friends that I'll know for the rest of my life there, and it's hard to leave that. But I'm also excited to get started. It's a little bittersweet, but I'm excited."

At Toronto, the youngster will have a deep roster to contend with, but with the team coming off a disappointing season where they missed the MLS Cup Playoffs, there could be a chance he might find a spot as he continues to hone his game.

"I'm excited to listen and soak in some information from some of the great US national team players, also the great players that play alongside them as well. So I'm just excited to get started," he said.

"I'm going to work as hard as I can and see what goes from there. I can't pinpoint what's going to happen, there's a lot of different variables, and I just want to mature as a player and get to work."

Alex Campbell contributed reporting to this story.