Meet lightning on the soccer field – Mark Bresciano – another World Youth Day 2008 Ambassador
By Anthony Barich
Socceroo World Cup hero Mark Bresciano has joined the rising list of elite sports stars to come out of the closet and admit their faith has been the key to their success.
Bresciano, currently playing for Palermo in the prestigious Italian Serie A league, represented Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and in the 2007 FIFA World Cup, when Australia suffered a heartbreaking loss to eventual winners Italy due to a controversial penalty.
Now Bresciano, who originally signed with Italian club Empoli before moving to Parma then Palermo as a midfielder, is one of 10 World Youth Day Ambassadors, says his faith played a “pivotal role” in his life thus far.
“It gives me strength and guidance,” Bresciano says of his faith, adding that it is an “honour” to be an ambassador for WYD08.
On the field, Bresciano is a versatile character with a renowned eye for goal. While he usually plays on the left side of midfield, he’s also known as a set-piece specialist and has been useful forward and in defence and central and right midfield.
Off the field, Bresciano has found versatility through the faith. Baptised early into a Catholic family, he attended Catholic schools and says he still regularly “communicates with God” by praying daily, and attends Mass.
Bresciano is one of Australia’s most talented footballers and has a renowned eye for goal.
He usually plays his football on the left side of midfield but can also play as a forward and in the central or right midfield role. Bresciano is a versatile player who often assists in both attack and defence and is also a set-piece specialist.
“I really feel the need to give back to the Church for what it has given me,” Bresciano said. “I gain much inspiration from the Church and believe there is definitely a greater power which is where I derive a lot of comfort from.”
Bresciano first heard about World Youth Day in 2005 when it was announced that Sydney was the next host city.
“I am looking forward to the event and have some friends that will be attending,” he says.
“I believe World Youth Day will inspire young people to think about their faith and commitment to God and practise it on a more regular basis.
“What I hope is that World Youth Day will inspire young people to strengthen their faith, understand the need for peace and realise that we all need to get along in this world.
“I hope that people develop a better understanding of each other’s differences and accept people for who they are.”
For Bresciano, faith is more than something we ‘do’ once a week at Mass. He believes it pervades every aspect of life.
“I hope that young people see that faith plays a huge role in every way, even in today’s secular society,” he said.
“So you can see why I’m really looking forward to this event, so I can form new friendships and share people’s experiences through God.”
He believes it is important that today’s young people realise the need for reflection in life.
“Whether it be once a day, once a week, or once a month, we need the time to focus on what things are really important in life,” he said.
“And no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, God is always with you.”