Dariusz “Darek” Formella was a midseason signing for Sacramento Republic FC last year, the Polish attacker brought in with a solid pedigree and real potential as a player on the rise.
Ultimately, Formella made headlines around the world last year, but likely not for the reasons he would want.
In a game against Rio Grande Valley FC, Formella scored the winner for Sac Republic and immediately hit the deck, overcome with emotion. Word later came out that Formella’s father had just died, something Formella didn’t tell even his teammates before the game, with teammate Haris Chantzopoulos reacting to the news in real time in the hug after the goal.
Understandably, Formella wasn’t interested in talking in depth about the goal, which went viral around the world in the context of his father’s death, for some time afterward. But Republic FC released a video with the 24-year-old explaining the backstory surrounding a painful situation, why he didn’t tell his team before the game and his ongoing emotion about it all.
Thinking about this, it has to be truly heartbreaking. Few of us move halfway across the world to work, and doing that as a youngster and having to leave behind your family, including a parent sick with cancer, has to be incredibly difficult. Full credit to Darek for doing his best to carry on, and to talk about the famous goal with the benefit of some time to temper his grief a bit. Above all, it’s easier than ever to root for Darek after hearing the full story.
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