Q&A: Soccer Star Giorgio Martino

By Steven Barrera

Christian athletes playing in secular schools face a unique set of challenges as they balance their faith with their athletic pursuits. From navigating social pressures to finding ways to practice their beliefs, these athletes must find a way to stay true to their faith. Soccer player Giorgio Martino shares his story on how he navigated playing in a secular institution and the transition to The Master’s University

Q: How was it playing at Arizona Western College, a secular institution?

A: I liked it because soccer is much fun and we were one of the best teams in the conference at the time. But there was an aspect of the school I did not like. There were parties, drugs and alcohol. So, it wasn’t a good environment besides the sports. So, after that year me and another guy named Michael decided to move to a different school. Honestly, I wasn’t looking for a Christian school. 

Q: You weren’t looking for a Christian university so was the change of schools strictly to get away from the parties, drugs and alcohol?

A: I was looking to get away from that. I came to the U.S. to play soccer so I didn’t want to be distracted. Since I started to go to church in Arizona, I just decided that was not for me. The first thing I was looking for was a good soccer team because I do want to become a professional. After Michael told me about The Master’s I really liked it and made the switch.

Q: How was the transition coming from a secular school to TMU where everything we do we do to glorify Christ and what are the differences between the coaches and players?

A: It’s super different when I was in Arizona, they never taught me to play for Christ. I was always playing for myself and I didn’t care if we won or lost as long as I was doing good and scoring goals. That is the only thing I cared about when I was in Italy and in Arizona. When I came here, I tried to understand what it meant to be a good Christian and live a good life. 

Coach helped me and taught me when we play, we do it to glorify God and everything we do is to glorify God. I didn’t know that I just wanted to showcase myself. After talking to teammates and coaches I started to understand why we play to glorify God. 

Q: Now that you play to glorify Christ does it change the way you play?

A: I didn’t change the way I play because I still want to score goals and everything. It did change the way I go onto the field and how I treat people around me. Before I might get mad at another player or referee, right? Everything has changed.

Q: In Arizona how were you able to be around all the things that you were around without being corrupted by it?

A: Honestly it got to me sometimes. It was impossible. I grew up in a Catholic church and started going to a Christian church four months after arriving in Arizona. Before that I was going to parties. After I started to go to church, I questioned what I was doing. I came to the U.S. and I’m just partying and that’s not what I want. It’s like I’m losing my life. I started going to church with Michael and going to Bible study. I decided to get away from the party life and get more involved in the church. I started feeling better. Instead of going to parties or getting drinks I would go to the gym or hang out with people from church. I felt much better. 

Q: You came to America to play soccer and ended up finding something more valuable. Can you talk about how that has changed your life?

A: I came to the U.S. with a big dream to become a professional soccer player, become rich and live in LA. I really didn’t know where in the U.S. I was going to end up though. I found out a month before I came to the US that I was going to play in Arizona. So that was my plan but after coming here everything changed. Before I was looking to make a lot of money and party. Now I just want to glorify God, find a good job and find a wife, hopefully.

Published by Bob Dickson

Professor, husband, girl dad x2, writer, reader, sports fan, beach bum

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