The Paw Print
To cheat death and play against some of the best players in the world
The extraordinary story of the goalkeeper of an extraordinary team
During most days of the year, Aldo Simoncini works as an accountant, but there are days that he puts on his soccer jersey and gets in goal for his country, San Marino, facing some of the world’s best players. For 40 games with the national jersey, the 28-year-old accountant has received 171 goals whereas his teammates have scored only 8. His country, San Marino, is currently ranked as 208th by FIFA – at the same level with the country of Buta and after The Cook Islands and Andora. Last week, the country-dwarf San Marino, with a total population of a little more than 33,000 people, faced England in a Euro-qualification match at Webley in front of 55,000 people. Simoncini and his teammates faced Wayne Rooney and all of the other world-class star players of the English National Football team. Despite the fact that San Marino was scored on 5 times Simoncini was optimistic after the game, saying that it is true that no one likes to lose but that considering the gap between the two teams the score was not bad. The country of San Marino has had a national soccer team for 25 years and its international performance is far from good. For 25 years the team has won only 1 game and has scored only once in the last 6 years. During the last qualifications for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the country lost all of its 10 qualifying matches receiving 54 goals.
With an absolutely terrible winning record, continuous failing in international competition, and receiving 5 goals on average each game one would reasonably ask why do they still have a team and try to compete, and why hasn’t the keeper just quit or given up on playing. Throughout this article I will give you a clear explanation of this adequate question, and will show you what the true love of the game can do and the way it can inspire people. Aldo Simoncini was a talented 19-year-old goalkeeper playing for Modena F.C. in the prestigious Italian Serie B with great potential. The youngster survived a really severe car accident, and after sustaining some major bone fractures and ligaments tears and having the real danger of losing his life, he was told by the doctors that IF he survived he wouldn’t be able to play ever again. The young, talented goalkeeper spent 4 months in the hospital and then 14 months after that doing rehabilitation and physical therapy, because of the love of the game. While his potential for professional development at the highest levels was lost due to this unfortunate accident, he managed to prove everyone wrong and came back to the field 2 years after the accident. San Marino’s goalkeeper had to face the powerful team of Germany in his first game back, where his team lost 0:13.
However, the truly inspirational Simoncini says that this day was the happiest day of his life because he had left 18 months of struggle and pain behind and had overcome something that everyone had considered “impossible.” This again shows that our perspective on life is all we’ve got, and Simoncini shows that each time he steps on the field. He gives his best each day and is truly happy that he can play the sport he loves competing against some of the best players in the world, regardless of the end result.