World Cup Inspiration – Nico Calabria’s Story

Nico Calabria

With Brazil’s win over Croatia, the 2014 World Cup is off and running. The Beautiful Game and all its excitement will be on full display for football fans around the world for the next few weeks. For many young players, watching the best players of the game will undoubtedly spark aspirations to play at the highest levels. Watching elite players like Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Brazil’s Neymar can have that effect.

Nico Calabria playing youth soccer
Nico playing with sport crutches

For Nico Calabria, his love of the soccer started when he was 5 years old. With a sport that depends so much on skilled feet and speed, you might be surprised to learn that Calabria was born with just one leg. But, Nico was one determined player.

One example: at the age of 13 he became the first person with crutches to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. In the process, he raised over $100,000 for charity. That’s determination. That’s inspiration. Playing for his high school varsity team, he scored on a bicycle kick. Video of the kick went viral – see video below. He wrestled competitively in high school in addition to playing on the varsity soccer team.

Nico Calabria scoresNico graduated from high school in Massachusetts.  He took a year off to intern with SideStix, the company that makes the sports crutches that he uses. He also taught gymnastics.  He plans on attending college in Colorado.  Nico will be part of the U.S. team at the Amputee Football World Cup in Mexico in November.

Nico’s story is on display in a wonderfully crafted Powerade commercial. The two minute commercial features home video of Nico through the years.  While his 3 kids were growing up, Nico’s dad pulled out the video camera frequently to capture their activities on film.  After watching the commercial, you’ll be glad he did.  It’s an inspiring story.


“Nico Calabria’s Story of Defying Expectations” VIDEO

How great is this goal?  Nico Calabria’s high school soccer goal


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