Sometimes, being Maltese can be more useful than you might have thought.
When 16-year-old Maltese footballer Nicole Sciberras started training with Juventus, one of the biggest teams in the world, few people might have realised what a challenge it truly is to move abroad at such a young age.
Having left everything to follow her dreams in Italy with the Bianconeri, Sciberras was still too young to sign many legal documents to complete the process, and she sorely needed a legal representative.
Enter Vanessa Frazier, the Maltese ambassador to Italy.
With the help of the Maltese embassy, Nicole was able to get onto Juventus’ radar – and the rest has been history.
“For me, she’s a heroine.”
Frazier opened up about her role in helping Nicole get closer to achieving her dreams in comments sent to Lovin Malta.
“Nicole’s personal story hasn’t really come out, but this is a girl that, when she was just 15, her sports school got into contact with me to tell me that this girl had a real opportunity in Rome, and wanted to see if I could help out in any way,” Frazier said.
“I contacted her mother and I met them, and I saw her determination,” Frazier beamed, “I could see this girl really wanted to do something in football, and her mother was supporting her a lot, which isn’t easy.”
A football scout had seen Nicole playing in Malta, and wanted to give her an opportunity in Italy – and Frazier saw a way to help out.
“I had my own son who played with Roma before he moved to Juventus, and I knew the Women’s Coach from Rome,” she explained.
“After I met Nicole’s mother, I spoke to the representative of the Malta Football Association in Italy and we told Nicole and her mother that when they came to Italy to do some trials they should come to the embassy to meet the Rome coach,” Frazier said.
When they met, he offered a position.
“Originally, the club she was going to wasn’t in a good location,” Frazier points out. “And if it was my own daughter…you always think of your own children, and I started thinking that she was going to come here alone without her parents, so we tried to create a safe environment for her in a club where they’d take care of her.”
“Nicole was living with nuns, who would take her with organised transport to training, and she even ended up doing her Sixth Form by Skype,” Frazier said.
“She got what she deserves, and we were there to help her, when she needed legal documents or when she needed a legal representative… the embassy was there for her,” she ended.
And it’s not just the Ambassador who is looking out for Nicole.
In comments sent to Lovin Malta, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela thanked the Ambassador of Malta to Italy Vanessa Frazier and her staff for all the support they provide to Maltese living in Italy and for bringing the case of Nicole Sciberras to his attention.
Minister Abela spoke with Nicole to wish her all the best in her career and reassured the Ministry’s support through Malta’s Embassy in Italy to her and all Maltese citizens currently residing in Italy.
As Nicole continues her journey upwards in Italian football, she can rest assured that Malta’s got her back, be it her family, friends, or the diplomatic community.