Two Loves – Soccer and Community
Italy has won the World Cup four times—most recently in 2006—and a fierce tradition of soccer fanaticism flourishes throughout the country. One of Cagli’s own has made the city proud after playing for the city’s team for five years and several other teams since.
Playing soccer at age five is not unusual, but having the talent to be paid to play at the raw age of 15? That is unique. Giovanni Giacomucci is a Cagliesi who did just that and has been playing for 14 years and counting.
In the past 14 years, Giovanni has played for five different soccer teams, most recently in Piandimeleto, a town northwest of Cagli. These days, Giovanni says, there’s less money in soccer, so clubs have begun to contract directly with players instead of through a manager. He is currently without a team but expects to get a contract in July and hopes to play for a Marche team that plays throughout the region. Training will begin in August, and the season lasts from September through May.
“I hope to play for five more years,” Giovanni says. Soccer is a sport where top players can play into their late 30s, but that can be a bit more difficult in the regional leagues. The great news for him is that he is well equipped to succeed beyond soccer.
Giovanni graduated from the University of Urbino with a degree in physical therapy and has returned to school to earn an advanced specialty in teaching, which he will complete next May. After his playing days are over, he hopes to coach soccer at either the elementary- or middle-school level.
His family has long roots in the community, and he cares about Cagli’s future. Giovanni’s family owns a building a stone’s throw from the Opera House, and they have apartments they rent to locals and visitors.
Over the last several years, Cagli has gone through quite a bit of change, and Giovanni would like to see the city return to more-vibrant days. “I would like to rebuild Cagli from the ground up,” he said. He is taking the first step toward that goal with two close friends.
The three friends have started a club called IDEE Sport Territorio. They created a business plan, of sorts, that explains what the club will provide to the community. Beginning in the fall, the club will offer activities such as rock climbing, Nordic walking, and dog tracking. Of course, soccer is next.
The city of Cagli is supporting the three friends’ efforts by donating space. Thanks to the city, IDEE will soon have a soccer field where kids can train and play 6-on-6 soccer games. The field will be plowed in the fall and re-built, and the friends’ hope to begin training kids on the field in May after Giovanni has his teaching certificate.
“My friends and I are starting this club to rebuild the honor, the sport, and the impression people have of Cagli,” he says.
Cagli has a gifted soccer player in its community who wants to be a teacher who makes a difference. The efforts of Giovanni, his friends, and their club will give residents an outlet for recreation and inspire those who take part to move Cagli forward in the eyes of locals and beyond.