October 7, 2022

Wire Service Canada

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Mattia’s story, from soccer school in Ukraine to escaping from…

is called Mattia Gozo, 33, was born in Turin with more passion than anything else: “I’ve loved football since I was a kid and since I started kicking anything I found on the ground. Over the years, I developed this passion: I played a lot, and then I couldn’t Breakthrough. Whom do I brag for? Sampdoria, the only jersey in the world.” Mattia graduated in Sports Science, and knows his wife UkraineThere he proves himself with a specific but clear goal in mind: “I wanted to do something that could give someone hope. She founded a football academy called “Atletico Tricolor” and took children from the age of three to eighteen, making my own program, which I studied. The children learned with me many new things that were not done in other Ukrainian football schools. Some of the major clubs have even called each other. For the coach, I think there is no greater satisfaction.”

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“You made my kids so much fun. I also saw Sampdoria matches with them.”

Mattia Gozo founded his own academy for children, in Irpin, a town 30 kilometers from Kyiv: “We trained in an outdoor field in a park. Then I found a facility where the old people went to have coffee and pass the time. There was a gym, very cold and on Classic Soviet style: in the winter there was a -10. I put it back on my own tunnel and trained a little there a little in a nearby field I took care of by cutting weeds, stones and roots. ” He removed those from the trees, to put the others down: “The very low level kids came to me, but then this level became mediocre and so on. Gradually the parents advised friends and acquaintances to come to me: so I managed to give birth to a group of about forty children. I always keep them entertained. I spoke to them in English and it was a way for both of us to learn other things, besides football and staying together. We had a lot of fun and I always focused a lot on having fun and being together. I also often watch Sampdoria matches with them. They told me, “But Juventus wins more,” and I said, “So what?”. We had big laughs.”

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We woke up to the sound of bombs.

Unfortunately, when Mattia tells us the story of his academy, he speaks to us in the past tense: “Before the war began, some parents used to tell me: ‘Matia, we’re going away from here. We no longer trust this situation. It was at that moment that I realized that something dangerous could happen. I wouldn’t have thought of that. So much so that I never imagined going back to Italy.” The story of his escape from Irbin is frightening: “We woke up to the sound of bombs and planes flying overhead. We initially tried to find a train to escape, but they were all either stifled or full of people. Luckily we were able to book a coach. It started from Kyiv: we walked 8 kilometers to get to the bus station. Then we were finally able to leave. That bus was our salvation The trip went well. Some friends told us that even on the highway there were shootings. There was great concern, but fortunately we made it out of the border unharmed.”

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Mattia today in Italy, in Turin who raised him. But the head is still there. Among those children he taught a lot of things and with whom he built a strong relationship: “With some parents, I was able to connect and I know they are fine nowthanks God. I know some have left the country and/or moved west. I can’t contact other parents, I hope they are all fineAnd today he does not even know whether he will one day be able to return to his children in Ukraine: “I do not know … who knows when this sad story will end,” he told us with some bitterness. But one thing is certain: it could be Mattia Proud of what he did. In other words, having made bonds, shared feelings with us and taught – before kicking the ball – the beauty and value of being together. Unlike the divisions that still make us live in unimaginable fear, horror and uncertainty.

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