From Soccer to Basket-Ball: Luigi Turci Still Using his Hands, but now Shooting Hoops Instead


Spending a long time in a region or country can leave quite a mark on a person, a mark so big that sometimes you feel drawn to return to that region later in your life. And once you do, you actually might start doing things you never thought of doing before, or things which at least, remained hobbies. Until now.

Such is the case of ex-Cesena and recent retiree goalkeeper Luigi Turci. Having just quit the world of soccer, the 37 year-old Turci decided to return to Friuli, the Italian region in which he spent 6 years from 1996 to 2002, playing goalkeeper for Udinese. Those were good times back then: the 3-4-3 formations, the UEFA Cups, Alberto Zaccheroni (hey, whatever happened to him?)… I guess good man Turci must have felt a bit of nostalgia, because he just settled into his house of Grado, in the province of Gorizia. Besides, his family seems to have taken root already: his oldest son Matteo, is already following his father’s steps and is playing for the Gradese youth team (as a goalkeeper of course). Dad drops by the training sessions sometimes, to give his son and the other “baby” keepers a few pointers.

However, Turci’s life hasn’t been 100% soccer. “In fact” he says, “I’m rejecting it, almost“. Especially because since earlier this season, he’s been hired by the local basketball team, which is competing in the “Campionato Promozione” (in case you’re wondering, that’s the 7th level of competition, starting with Serie A at the top): in other words his opponents don’t have belong to teams like Milan, Inter, or Juventus anymore, but rather “Cormons”, “Edera”, “Villesse” and “Mossa”.

Luigi Turci, back in the days with UdineseSo far, Turci’s team has won 5 games out of 6: “I was asked if I wanted to play with them, and I accepted, since I don’t like being inactive. I have practice once a week, and play league matches on the week-ends. On average I remain on the court 20 minutes, playing as a pivot, the only role that suits me best since I’m the tallest guy in the roster“. But all of you are wondering… how good is Turci playing basket-ball? “Well… my shooting technique needs some improvement, but under the basket I’m doing okay. My record so far is 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block“. Not bad for a beginner…

Turci’s passion for basket-ball was born while he was still with Udinese: “Me and the other keepers used to play a lot in the gym while we were training. I remember I used to have challenges with Morgan De Sanctis and Zampa (the fitness trainer), which by the way could have made a career in basket-ball in my opinion. Unfortunately, after I was transferred to Sampdoria and then to Cesena, I couldn’t play anymore because they didn’t have courts“. And what number is Turci wearing now? “Number 12“, the number usually given to the back-up keeper? “Ah yes, that’s true. But it wasn’t a romantic choice, it was really the only choice: it was the only shirt my size they had in stock“.

Well, good luck with your new career Luigi. After all, even Kobe Bryant started playing professional basket-ball in Italy. Yup, that last fact is 100% true. :)

Hat Tip to Gazzetta dello Sport for publishing this story.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Udinese, World News |

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