He grew up playing soccer in the streets of Gioia del Colle, Italy but he had one dream...to play soccer at the highest world level! Today, he is doing exactly that as he leads the defending World Cup champions, Italy.
"I really didn't dream of being anything else," so says Nicola Legrottaglie, a defender and considered one of the world's best players. "I started playing in my hometown, a small town in Apulia, in southern Italy. Kids thought about football because there were no other areas to dream about making it big. There were never other dreams."
For Legrottaglie, playing soccer...or football (for you American or Canadian kids), as it's known for most of the world. And the "World Cup" is the world's number one sports event. Italy has won four World Cups and are, with Legrottaglie's help going after their fifth.
He says, "For me, it's another way of proclaiming Jesus' name. Everything I do, everything anyone does, who is a Christian, must be done to proclaim the name of Jesus, to give Him glory. Not for personal boasting, but for Him!"
Legrottaglie's passion for the sport and for God was evident by age 13 when he made a promise to God..."I did make a promise to God, that if He gave me the opportunity to become a footballer, I would become a missionary for Him. So today I find myself keeping that promise that I made to God to become a missionary in the world where He sends me!"
God gave me the opportunity to play football(Excerpted and adapted, SPORTS SPECTRUM, Spring of 2010)
"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ" (Colossians 4:3).