1 on 1 with Soccer Star Maxim Speed


Maxim Speed is an online sensation who certainly lives up to his name. The 12-year-old from Oahu, Hawaii has been playing soccer practically from the time he could walk. Max recently spoke with Beyond Type 1 about his diagnosis, what it’s like playing soccer with type 1 diabetes (T1D), and his plans for the future.

Tell me about yourself

I am 12 years old and I’ve been playing soccer since I was 3 years old.

What position do you play?

I play center midfielder.

Tell me about when you were diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

I was 7 years old when I was diagnosed. I remember just staying in the hospital for the first few days and using the hospital pokers that they had, and all the syringes and having to bolus for my food 15 minutes before I had to eat.

How are you currently managing your diabetes?

I use the Dexcom G6. I really like it—it makes life way easier and I don’t have to calibrate it. I have a t:slim insulin pump that I use to take my insulin.

Is that ever tricky wearing a pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) while you play soccer?

Actually I take my pump off when I play soccer. But my CGM I keep it on, I don’t really notice it.

Do your teammates and coaches know more about diabetes now?

My teammates know I have it but we don’t really talk about it. My coaches know that I have it too, and they check on me to make sure I’m okay but, other than that we don’t usually talk about it that much.

How do you prepare for a game?

I make sure I eat two hours before I play and then at halftime I’ll check my numbers. I also check before the game and after the game to make sure they’re okay.

Do you have something specific that you like to eat before playing?

One of the breakfasts I usually do is just toast with eggs but there’s nothing really that specific that I eat every time.

Were you surprised when you started getting a lot of followers on Instagram?

I didn’t really know at first because it was my dad’s account, and he didn’t really have that much attention on his account. After he posted one of my videos and it started to gain more attention, he just started posting more videos and after that I got more followers and he just changed it to my account.

Has anybody with Type 1 diabetes ever reached out to you or your parents after seeing your videos?

A lot of people have talked to me through Instagram about it and I went to a diabetes camp and spoke to the kids there. A lot of the kids at the camp were recently diagnosed. There was even a kid that was diagnosed like a month before the camp.

Do you have a favorite soccer team that you follow?

I like a lot of teams but, I think my favorite team is probably PSG. It’s Paris Saint-Germain.

Who are your favorite players?

Two of my favorite players are Neymar and Mbappé. Another soccer player I look up to is Jordan Morris. He’s also type 1 and I’ve met with him twice. I went to Seattle and met up with him and we talked about a lot of things that he does during the game to make sure his numbers are good. I stay connected with him and he helps me a lot with my diabetes. He is kind of a role model because he’s living my dream and he has diabetes.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to play soccer professionally.

What is your advice to someone recently diagnosed with T1D?

You can still do anything you want. You can have any job you want, you can still have your dream as long as you just take care of your diabetes and make sure you stay healthy.

This article was published as part of a partnership between Beyond Type 1 and Dexcom.

WRITTEN BY Todd Boudreaux, POSTED 12/20/18, UPDATED 07/25/23

Todd was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been unofficially advocating for type 1 diabetes (T1D) ever since. Before joining the team at Beyond Type 1, Todd wrote and produced television shows for Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and Animal Planet. When he’s not in the office, you can usually find him at a baseball game, traveling, or drawing on his Etch A Sketch. You can also follow him on Instagram.