From Italy to the SCV: TMU’s Martino shines

By Steven Barrera, Staff Writer

Adjusting  to a new team can be tough for many college athletes, but Italian born Giorgio Martino has had to adjust to living in a new country as well.  For Martino, The Master’s University was not his first stop to America as he had previously played soccer at Arizona Western College. 

While playing soccer in Italy, some of his game films made it to the U.S.; that is when he was offered a scholarship to play at Arizona Western College. 

Playing soccer for a school was something new for Martino because in Italy high schools don’t have athletic teams. If you played a sport, it was club. 

Moving to Arizona was a culture shock and Martino says, “It is completely different, it looks like a different world.” He also experienced firsthand what a secular college looked like. 

“There were a lot of parties, drugs and alcohol,” Martino said, “I came to the U.S to work and follow my dreams, I did not want to be around that.” 

While playing in Arizona, he would be introduced to Christianity by his teammate Michael Nachfoerg. 

“Where I’m from everyone was Catholic,” Martino said, “but nobody really went to church because it was almost two hours away.” 

In Arizona, there was a church five minutes away, where every Sunday, Martino and Nachfoerg would attend services. 

Being in a secular environment, Nachfoerg was looking to transfer to a school where he wouldn’t be around the parties and everything that went with them. Martino liked the sound of that as well, and that was the first step in his journey to TMU. Martino asked Nachfoerg if he could talk to TMU head men’s soccer coach, Jim Rickard – and maybe put in a good word. Rickard then looked at Martino’s game film and loved what he saw. 

“Giorgio is a skilled attacker who can create chances on his own and that is tough in soccer,”  Rickard said. “He is also strong on the ball and could hold off defenders while dribbling.” 

After some discussions, coach Rickard was able to offer Martino a scholarship.  

Even though Martino had multiple offers including Division I scholarships after his freshman campaign, he still stuck with going to TMU. 

“I love it here and would never leave,” Martino said.  

Since Martino arrived, his presence has been felt. During his junior campaign, he led the team with five goals on the season and tallied four assists. 

“Giorgio has a lot of passion for the game, and he is enthusiastic at practices and games,” Rickard said. 

Steven Barrera can be reached at barreralopezsa@masters.edu

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