Many people know of soccer, or football as it is called in the rest of the world. Many dislike the sport because they just don’t get it and it just doesn’t relate to us in North America. You do have to keep something in mind, though: FIFA is one of the largest sport organizations in the world. Not here, Italy, Russia, or Japan, but in 211 countries under the same banner. That is almost the whole planet, and for us who belong to the world, this sport is everything.
So, it was during this time of research that I came to an interesting player making the news in Italy; his name is Musa Juwara playing in Bologna currently. An 18-year-old Gambian refugee, he’s a forward left-winger in the Bologna FC-1909. Congratulations to him for his achievement in just four years of having landed there through the “backdoor” in the Mediterranean.
After Juwara was denied the right to join the leagues due to his minor status, his guardian angel, Mr. Summa, came to his rescue and vouched for him. He was the first to have spotted him playing out in the streets before taking him into his youth team, later becoming his legal guardian.
After going through the trials with his first team, he was signed on for 500,000 with Bologna last summer before earning himself a second rise for scoring 13 goals in 18 matches. Of course, he is not the only one. By paying attention to him, we find many more that have risked it all to make their dreams come true. A lot of Gambian refugees are finding themselves in the top tiers, which is making Italians think they may have a real shot at building an even stronger team than before; they feel fortunate and hopeful they can find more strong talent through the influx of refugees.
This is what I mean with the words “perseverance pays.” The vast majority of famous players throughout the history of football, soccer, or “calcio” originated from poverty. Most didn’t even have shoes or a proper ball, but imagination was all they needed, as well as the names of a few world-famous players. Many risked their lives, others left families behind, some tragically died on the way, racism was present when they joined foreign teams. Then, there are those who made it and they are admired around the world because of the amount of effort and determination it takes to rise above all the crime, poverty, sometimes warfare and often times lack of sanitation or proper education. Because when they rise, they tend to give back to their families and their communities. In my opinion, this is true grit.
So, if you’re into Italian FC or European FC in general, keep your eyes peeled for these up-and-coming stars.