Malerba shoots for United World Games

4/6/2017 | Payton North

Category: April 2017

Nick Malerba, pictured here competing in the 2015 Western Massachusetts Boys Soccer Championship, was selected to represent the United States in the United World Games in Austria this summer.
Reminder Publications file photo by George Skovera

For some, playing soccer is a pastime. For Nick Malerba, 17, it was destiny. “All my brothers played and then as I was brought up I was playing with them and playing on my own, and it took off. Ever since pre-school I’ve been playing on teams.”

Malerba has been an avid soccer player for years, often playing on multiple teams at once.  This year is the first year he had to take a step back from playing on off-season travel teams, though Malerba still plays for Agawam’s high school team.

“The expenses for the travel team started getting a little out of hand. I decided to get a job and focus on myself,” he said.

For families who have children on sports teams, it can take a toll.  Until their kids can drive themselves to practices and games, parents are given the job of being a chauffeur. Nick’s mom, Ronnie Malerba, didn’t mind, though. “It was busy, but it was enjoyable. There were great families to meet along the way,” she said.

Recently, Nick received an email from American International Sports Teams (AIST), in which, they invited him to play for their soccer division in Austria at the United World Games this July.  

The United World Games were established in 2005 as a way to bring youth athletes from all over the world together in an olympic-like setting. The organization focuses on the importance of connecting the athletes through their love of sports, though they may differ by appearance or religion.  

While Nick is happy to be attending The United World Games, he wasn’t expecting the invite. “I was shocked when I got the email and then I started jumping for joy, I’m not gonna lie. It was kind of nuts.”

For Ronnie, the chance for Nick to travel to Austria for the games is not only exciting to see his hard work has payed off, but also an opportunity to gain a greater cultural understanding.

“I think it’s going to be a great experience for him to travel over to Europe and learn about the different cultures and the history and everything,” she said, “The trip allows them to play in the game, but they’re also going to be doing side-trips to Germany and to Italy. There’s great greater-knowledge to be learned.”

Though Nick is thrilled to be representing the United States in the games, his trip to Austria isn’t cheap. The games last 10 days, and costs a total of $8,000.  While Nick is working to help pay for the expenses, he and his family can only cover a portion of the costs.  The family hosted a spaghetti supper on March 25 at Agawam’s American Legion to help raise money, and they also have a GoFundMe page set up in Nick’s honor.

The Malerba family said they appreciate all of the support they’ve received thus far, whether it was a monetary donation, assistance with the spaghetti supper, or a simple “share” of their GoFundMe page.

“There were some parents that came together with me that helped me out a lot and helped me put everything together.  I want to make sure ‘thank yous’ go out to all of those that donated; to all those that are supporting us,” Ronnie said.

So far, the Malerba International Soccer Fund GoFundMe page has received over 50 shares. To read more about the opportunity, visit

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