Sophomore Giorgio DeLibera arrives at school each morning just like any other student athlete. But, when the fourth period bell rings, DeLibera doesn’t head to the sub line or a fourth period class—he goes to the field. 

DeLibera, a center attacking midfielder for the Columbus Crew Academy team, began playing soccer at a very young age.  He joined the club, Sporting Columbus, at seven-years-old. A few years later, he joined the Columbus Crew Academy, a younger team associated with the famous Columbus professional soccer team. 

“They get people on my team to see how they can deal with more of a professional environment,” DeLibera said. 

DeLibera attends practices and weight training during the school day and leaves town for three to four days during weeks he has games. 

The flexibility online classes provide is necessary for DeLibera’s pre-professional soccer schedule. He takes Honors Biology, Government, Geometry and Sophomore Literature on Edgenuity, a program UA Online Academy students used during the pandemic. He attends Designing with Materials in person every morning and works on his online coursework in the Golden Bear Boulevard until lunch. 

“When we’re traveling, they keep the schedule packed,” he said. “We always [have] to keep on top of everything.”

To keep the pressure of game days at bay, DeLibera has found ways to relax before heading to the stadium.

“I get pretty nervous before games, but I try [to] mess around and not take stuff too seriously,” he said. “I just try to chill out and watch something funny.”

Even though his schedule requires him to miss out on most of the school day and some school functions, DeLibera said he still likes to get involved.

“I was planning on going to Homecoming, but it looks like I’m going to Chicago that week, so I’m pretty sad about that. But, I do try to get to a lot of sports events,” he said. 

DeLibera credits soccer for giving him longtime friends. 

“[At] my first ever practice playing soccer for a real team, I met all my friends that I hang out [with] to this day. So it’s just awesome,” he said.

Although he does not have the average high school experience, Giorgio is content with his unique path.

“It’s definitely difficult because sometimes you miss out on things you wish you were at,” he said. “But, you just [have] to adapt to it and realize this is what you want to do.”