James Rodriguez Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts

James Rodriguez Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts

LifeBogger presents the Full Story of a Football Genius best known by the Nickname; ‘The Apollo’.

Our version of James Rodriguez’s Biography Facts and his Childhood Story brings you a full account of notable events from his childhood time till date.

Lifebogger’s analysis of the Columbian Football Legend involves his life story before fame, family life and many OFF and ON-Pitch little-known facts about him. Without further ado, let’s begin.

James Rodriguez Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:

Columbia football superstar, James David Rodríguez Rubio, was born on the 12 day of July 1991 in Cúcuta, Colombia, to Wilson James Rodríguez Bedoya (father) and Maria Del Pilar Rubio (mother).

This is James Rodriguez from his childhood.
This is James Rodriguez from his childhood.

He was born into a middle-class family in Cucuta and spent his early childhood in Ibague. James grew up close to the Venezuelan border.

James is the only child of his parents. That is why he always received great attention and care from his beloved family. He always credits his family for his success.

James inherited his father’s passion for football and became interested in the sport at the early age of 2.

As a child, he used to play Pony Fútbol with Academia Tolimense and became a very skilled player by the time he was in his early teens.

His Upbringing isn’t like Carlos Tevez’s:

Forget Cinderella stories. ‘James’ – or ‘Ha-mez’ as the world now knows him – didn’t grow up playing street football with a ball made out of old socks as Carlos Tevez did.

He didn’t abandon school and forgo his studies for a kickabout with friends. His is not the typical South American story of rags to riches.

James Rodriguez’s upbringing is more akin to that of Ricardo Kaka, a middle-class upbringing with options. James chose football. His career was forged with cones, boards, instructions and tears.

“I’d always liked football, but it was my dad who took me to the academy in Tolima, when I was five – that’s how I started,” said James, reflecting on his early career.

Little James Rodriguez and his Dad.
Little James Rodriguez and his Dad.

His first boots, a pair of black and white Adidas, were also a gift from his father, who had played for the Tolima reserves before quitting to work as an engineer.

James Rodriguez Childhood Disorder:

As a child, James suffered from a heavy stutter. Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions. It is popularly known as “Stammering.”

Having known the prospects for their son and how it could affect his career, Jame’s parents had to spend a lot of money hiring a speech therapist to help their son get over his problems.

Little James, 13 years old, is so shy that some of his teammates have yet to hear him speak. And those who have heard him utter a rare word know that everything he says is faltering and hesitant due to his stutter.

Still affecting him today, shy guy Rodriguez often struggles in interviews due to a lack of confidence and shame directed towards his stutter.

Shyness and speech impediment issues still persist. He still visits a speech therapist on weekly occasion. He overcame his stutter by reading books out loud.

James Rodriguez Family Life:

He is the beloved son of Mr Wilson James Rodriguez Bedolla and his beloved spouse Maria Del Pilar Rubio. He has great affection for his parents because they are the reason for his success.

“Sometimes in life, people learn either by their mistakes or the mistakes of others” …That was James’ success. His major influencer was seeing, to a certain extent, the mistakes and virtues of his father’s career as a footballer.

Those experiences helped Rodríguez mature beyond his age, mostly credited to the experiences passed down by his father, Wilson James Rodríguez.

His father was also a quality player who even played on the Colombian national team.

Mr James Wilson was part of the 1985 U-20 side that also had players the likes of John Jairo Trellez, Eduardo Niño and a young goalkeeper named René Higuita.

Wilson was just as talented as his son, but he saw his career cut short by injuries and a battle with alcoholism.  He carried those life lessons over and taught his son what to avoid.

Mr Wilson has criticized Zidane’s choice of not regularly playing his son.

According to him,

“When Ancelotti was at Madrid, my son played very well; he played in his ideal position and was helping Modric.

Now he has been pushed to one side by Zidane, and I can’t say my son is doing anything wrong because I know my son is a worker, is humble and will play in whatever position the coach tells him to play in regardless of whether it is his best position or not,” 

James Rodriguez’s Mother:

“James never wanted to be a footballer, but he was a footballer from the day he was born,” said his mother, Maria de Pilar Rubio.


Without a doubt, James is a clear product of his mum’s disciplinary approach to life. The discipline Maria taught her son is fundamental and has led to what he has become today.

About Daniela Ospina – James Rodriguez’s Wife:

By the time he turned 18, James was not just looking at a move to Porto; he was also looking at married life.  He married Daniela and left for Portugal in 2010. 

Many saw great things from James, even his eventual wife, Daniela Ospina, who is a sister to his national teammate David Ospina.

James met Ospina’s sister while he was at Banfield, and her being able to relate to his demands as a player helped provide him with a much stronger foundation. 

Ospina was an aspiring volleyball player when they first met, and they quickly established a long-distance relationship. He fell in love with her despite at first communicating only through phone and the internet.


Little did he know, he was talking to the sister of his eventual teammate — national team goalkeeper David Ospina.

James is now happily married and has a child named Salome Rodriguez Ospina on 29th May 2013. James is often seen kissing the tattoo of his daughter upon scoring in a match. He is the evergreen family man.

This versatile footballer loves to spend quality time with his wife and daughter. He loves his wife and daughter a lot and always spends most of his time with them.

Radamel Falcao’s Father:

The Athlete and James Rodriguez have been best of friends since childhood thanks to their fathers, who were best of friends during their football playing days.

They both take each other’s son as their very own. Below is a picture of James Rodriguez as the only mascot assigned to and initiated by Radamel Falcao’s father.

As a child, James Rodriguez was quite close to Radamel Falcao's Father.
As a child, James Rodriguez was quite close to Radamel Falcao’s Father.

James Rodriguez’s Uncle was Killed in a fight with a street gang:

Anyone who grew up or knew much about Colombia in the ’90s would certainly be aware of a period marked by bloody feuds, street executions and vendettas.

These were part of everyday life under the reign of Pablo Escobar, the country’s infamous drug lord, who happened to be a big football fan.

One year and one week after the killing of defender Andres Escobar, James Rodriguez’s uncle Arley Rodriguez was shot six times and died.

His uncle, Arley Rodriguez, was a promising 19-year-old midfielder for Independiente Medellin. He was killed in 1995. He and his friend had gone to the hospital to treat cuts they had received after a gang tried to rob their motorcycle.

In that raid, they fought back but were injured in the fight. When they left the hospital, these same thugs were waiting for them. These thugs killed them both.

At the time, James was living far from the chaos of Medellin, in Ibague, and playing against older kids for Academia Tolimense.

James Rodriguez Basketball:

Rodriguez is a huge basketball fan. In fact, his favourite player is LeBron James. The love is mutual, as James praised Rodriguez’s mean soccer skills on Twitter during the 2014 World Cup.


Their friendship was quick because they are namesakes.

James Rodriguez – Linked to a Famous Drug Lord:

Did you know?… James Rodriquez’s childhood saw a period where people involved in the football business were also drug lords.

This is the case of James’s helper called, Gustavo Adolfo Upegui. He was a football scout and president of the soccer academy Envigado.

However, he was also a known associate of notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar and had been jailed 21 times.

Upon spotting Rodriguez in action, Upegui was impressed and persuaded him to leave his current academy and join his own. Upegui Lopez later became the club’s major shareholder.

In 1998 he was arrested and accused of running a band of contract killers. Or, as the newspaper Semana put it, of “His gang were cut loose from his cartel after the death of Pablo Escobar”.

Again, while Upegui was at office, his club witnessed the murder of three of their presidents plus one member of the board.

Upon investigation, Upegui Lopez was seized following a game against Independiente Bogota by undercover officers disguised as fans.

But after spending 32 months in jail (first in Bogota and then in the high-security prison of Itagui), charges were dropped, and his name was surprisingly cleared.

He then went to live like a tsar, on a highly-guarded farm. His assassination was like something from a Martin Scorsese movie.

Eight men broke into his ranch at 3 am, bound and gagged 20 family members and staff, including two sets of bodyguards, and got to Upegui Lopez’s room in silence.

Once in, they tied him up, escorted him to a sofa and shot him in the head using a pillow as a silencer.

His death was on July 2006, 35 days after Upegui Lopez witnessed the professional debut of his gem, a 14-year-old James Rodriguez, in a game against Cucuta.

Immediately after his death, many of his football players, including James, found their way out of the club.

So when Argentine clubs came knocking, James’s parents were willing to listen to offers. Especially because Upegui Lopez, the usual guardian of her son’s interests, was dead, and the town was going through turmoil.

Boca Juniors appeared to be close to signing him (as they did with his team-mate Fredy Guarin), but Banfield outbid them and secured his services for £250,000.

The name James Rodriguez is not ‘James’; it is “Hahm-ess” Rodriguez:

Ever since he became popular, the English-speaking world has encountered difficulty in learning to pronounce ‘James’ as ‘Ha-mez’,

One thing to be noted here is that his first name – James is not to be pronounced in a typically English fashion.

His name is pronounced in a Colombian cum Spanish accent which sounds like ‘Hahm-ess Rod-ri-guess.’ 

His parents named him after James Bond, though his name is actually pronounced Ham-ez, as opposed to like the fictional MI6 agent.

James is always proud of his roots, so much so that when an Argentine journalist called him James (English pronunciation, of course), the teenager became irate and quickly corrected him.

  “My father’s name is James (Hah-mess), and that is the name he gave me,” he said in an interview on a local Argentine television during his first season at Banfield.

These days, James doesn’t feel anything about how people call and pronounce his name.

James Rodriguez Business Man:

Did you know that James launched his very-own energy drink in Colombia?

The drink, called “10 Gold,” is in support of the charity foundation that he started for underprivileged kids in his native country.


Growing up, James had two heroes. One was Tsubasa Ozora, a fictional character from the Japanese cartoon “Captain Tsubasa,” which tells the story of a boy who wants to win the World Cup for Japan. The other was the new teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.

James Rodriguez Education:

Besides scoring goals in the field, it’s reported that Rodriguez studied engineering at the Universidad Nacional Abierta.

Despite forging a lucrative career in soccer, James has not neglected his education, studying engineering at the Universidad Nacional Abierta from afar.

James Rodriguez Football Career:

Rodríguez is a product of Envigado’s youth system. It was this academy that unveiled Jhon Durán into the professional football world. In 1995, Rodríguez joined the academy of this club, where he spent nine years.

During this time, he played for different youth teams of this age, taking part in junior championships.

He turned professional by joining the Colombian second-division club Envigado in 2006 when he was in his mid-teens. The following year he achieved promotion to the Colombian first division.

He was signed by the Argentine team Banfield in 2008 and made his team debut on February 2009. His first goal was with a long-range strike in a 3–1 victory over Rosario Central on 27 February.

Just 17, he amazed his coaches and teammates with his skilful performances. That made him become a regular first-team player featuring in every game of the Apertura 2009.

He also became the youngest foreigner to score a goal in Argentina. He performed wonderfully throughout the year and soon garnered a huge fan following.

James Rodriguez joined the French side AS Monaco. For a transfer fee of €45 million in 2013. It was one of the most expensive transfers in world football. 

In June 2014, James was named in Colombia’s 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

He performed brilliantly on the group stage. Especially in the team’s opening match against Greece. In that match, he set up the first two goals and scored a last-minute goal.

James also featured prominently in the team’s victory over Ivory Coast in their second match of the tournament.

He continued his smashing performance in the final group stage match against Japan. He assisted two goals and scored one, leading his team to a 4-1 victory.

James was ranked the best performing player at the tournament by FIFA at the end of the group stage.

His consistent performances in the World Cup matches helped to take Colombia to their first-ever World Cup quarter-finals.

However, Colombia lost the quarter-finals against Brazil by 2-1 despite a superb performance by James. He ended his first World Cup campaign with six goals and two assists in five matches.

After the World Cup, he signed with the Spanish club Real Madrid for an undisclosed fee. The rest, they say, is history.

James Rodriguez – A Good Dancer:

They say, Dancing is a difficult thing for shy people”. This is not the case for James, even if he is a shy fellow. James loves to dance in a unique way.

James Rodriguez Rank:

Find below the ranking of the Columbian playmaker as of 2017.

Hi there! I am Hale Hendrix, a passionate football enthusiast and writer dedicated to uncovering the untold stories of footballers' childhood and biography. With a deep love for the beautiful game, I have spent countless hours researching and interviewing players to bring to light the lesser-known details of their lives.


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