Dario Gentiletti: A Jack of All Trades
A fan of poker, a trained street magician, a former Rugby player, Dario Gentiletti is now a safety position for the Santa Monica College Corsairs' mens football team and everything he has done in life helps him on the field.
Gentiletti was born and raised in Naples, Italy, which he describes as being the place of pizza and the Mafia, until the age of 18. He then moved out with his older brother and together they opened an Italian restaurant in Thailand. Finding it to be not what he wanted to do with his life, he moved to the United States. He came to SMC in 2015 and is currently in his third year.
In Italy, Gentiletti played rugby and was in the main league of his city as one of the top players. During a game, he broke his clavicle and had to stop playing. When he came back, it was painful for him because he was not at the level he used to be at. When he got to SMC, he didn’t know anything about football, but still had a passion for sports and went to try out anyways.
“During my first training, I didn’t know the name of any rules, but they were already training so I didn’t ask anybody. During the entire practice I was doing something a certain way and I thought I was doing good since nobody was complaining,” Gentiletti said. “Well, I hit my own teammate and he got mad so he said, ‘Coach, what is this guy doing?’ Then the coach said, ‘Ignore him, he’s been doing it wrong during the entire training.’ Gentiletti said that moment motivated him to become a better football player. He later trained by himself to prove to the coach that he could do it. Previously the defense coordinator for the Corsairs, Kelly Ledwith is now the interim head coach and has been working with Gentiletti individually.
“He’s literally the last player on the field every night when practice ends doing the extra work. It’s been a lot of fun working with him as he’s grown to learn how we want to do things and how he can make himself a better player,” said interim head coach Ledwith. “He’s really committed himself to making [football] a successful goal for him and I’m excited to see what he’s going to make of it.”
In Italy, Gentiletti attended a magic school and started playing poker when he was young. Both are two things that Gentiletti explains helped him to better understand people. These skills lets him read the quarterback which is quite an advantage on the football field.
As a safety, Gentiletti stands as the last line of defense utilizing his skills of tackling and running, both of which come from his background of rugby. When he first started school at SMC, his original goal was to simply major in business, but his love for football makes him want to work hard until he is one of the best players on the team.
“I’ve had this dream of playing football thanks to one person and that’s coach Ledwith. I don’t know why but he’s believed in me since the first day. Other coaches were pretty concerned since I had never played football and because I’m from a different country,” Gentiletti said. “He’s been the best coach I ever had in my life because even if I’m good, even if I’m the best, it doesn’t mean I’ll play. The coach has to believe in you and he believed in me and wherever I go will be thanks to him.” Gentiletti's passion, experience and circle of support has propelled him into being a very diverse human being.