Nico Calabria - The story of the one-legged football star
Meet Nico Calabria.
A name you probably have never come across.
He’s a nineteen year old who plays for the U.S Amputee National Soccer team. He was born with no right hip or right leg.
Well, that didn’t stop him from doing the extraordinary, like playing football with able bodied athletes or climbing mountains. He even teaches gymnastics. This man has done whatever he’s set his mind to. He is as determined as one can be.
His story is an inspiring one, one with several challenges and some unbelievable determination, something that the likes of Ronaldo and Messi will never be able to match.
He says: “No pity. No differences. I just want to be seen as an equal, as someone that is a competitor.”
At the young age of 5, he gave up his prosthetic leg in favour of forearm clutches. He’s like a disabled Ellyse Perry. A jack of all trades.
He’s scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, raising more than $100,000 in the process for charity, at the young age of 13. Not a feat you’d expect to find on a resume of a nineteen year old, let alone one with a physical disability.
He’s also part of the “There’s power in every game” campaign along with Andreas Iniesta which highlights how athletes have overcome adversity through the game they love.
Here’s a small peek:
“I’ve always been part of a family that’s athletic, and had an older brother who was very athletic, so I was just trying fit it and didn’t think I was doing anything abnormal,” Calabria tells
Despite playing with able bodied competitors, he will compete at the Amputee Football World Cup and will represent the US National team in Mexico. In addition to these remarkable feats, Calabria teaches gymnastics to kids at a school and has interned at SideStix, the company that makes his crutches. He hopes to practice with the soccer team at Colorado College this fall.
He made it to the high school soccer team in his freshman year. Something that able bodied high-school students struggle to do.
His dream was to play in the able bodied World Cup, only to realize it was a naïve one, and would much rather win the amputee World Cup. He is a true example of grit and determination. He says that a disability is a ‘different type of ability’.
People like Nico, deserve to have their story told. The world must know about people who achieve greatness at anything, something Nico’s done quite brilliantly.
He’s an inspiration for all disabled at least, and people who aspire to achieve greatness. He’s beaten the odds and he’s a special creation. People like Nico have shown us ‘where there is a will there is always a way’.
His parents always instilled the attitude of ‘You’re disabled, move on’ in him, which gave him his fighting spirit. They’ve supported him through everything and encouraged him through all his aspirations, something that they should be given credit for.
In one varsity game during his senior year, Calabria, while using the crutches that let him move about the field, scored an incredible over-the-head goal off a corner kick that went viral justifying the fact that this young lad is capable of anything!
At a young age of 19 he has already achieved so much, it’s quite exciting to think of what this man could do next. No mountain seems too high to climb, quite literally!
Good luck for the World Cup in November, Nico!
Leaving you with a message of inspiration from Nico: “I’m just honored to be a part of this and help tell my story,”
“I guess my advice to people would be that it doesn’t really matter what your physical condition is, or what country you’re from, or what your gender is — soccer can unite everyone across almost any barrier.”