Last December I had the pleasure of attending the College Life Italia award ceremony, here in Rome. There were many boys who had finished showing their soccer skills, hoping to be chosen by American university coaches who had arrived from America. After I had provided an award to one of their boys, some parents came to ask me about College Life Italia. They were fearful, a little wary: is it possible that someone offers to help our children go to study in America, free to our families? As we say here in Rome: "where's the scam?"
There is no scam. Instead, there is a team of Italian visionaries and hardheads that brings together the skills of Italian student athletes and those of the rich American universities. This team is led by a brilliant young Italian, who - full disclosure - is also a dear friend of mine. His name is Stefano Radio; in the meantime he has also created other things and made other agreements that he will tell us about. With this interview we officially announce the partnership between College Life Italia and We the Italians, an alliance which we are very, very happy for, and for which we thank Stefano very much.
Stefano, what is College Life Italia, how was it born and what are the numbers achieved so far?
College Life Italia represents the main bridge between Italy and the United States in the world of sports related to education. We were born as a recruiting agency of Italian student athletes in 2013 and in these years we have helped over 600 boys and girls to obtain scholarships in American colleges.
We started a real revolution in Italy by giving our kids the opportunity to finally understand that studying in the USA is within everyone's reach and that US college sports can change the lives of many of them.
We have players who have played for years in the professional youth sectors of Roma, Lazio, Napoli, Juventus, Milan and who, failing to become professionals at high levels, have preferred college soccer to improve themselves as people from a cultural, educational and personal point of view. Today they are all young people who are pursuing their studies and are now bilingual and ready to play important roles in every field of work.
We also help athletes from other sports: an example is Ilaria Casarotto, a javelin thrower, who thanks to us is now at UCLA, one of the most prestigious and well-known universities in the world.
These are all stories of boys and girls that could hardly have been told without an association like ours able to help the many Italian families to know how the system of college sports in the USA works.
Three years ago you created a bridge in the other direction: tell us about Soccer Management Institute
The Soccer Management Institute was founded in 2017 with the mission of welcoming student athletes from all over the world who have the dream of playing soccer and studying in Italy.
The intent is to be one of the most prestigious high-education institutes linked to sports. Most of our students are former college student athletes who after graduating and playing soccer in the USA have the desire to live a unique experience in Italy, in Rome, where it is possible to combine sports and education in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Our players in the early hours of the morning have intense practice sessions in the Trastevere Calcio field, in one of the most characteristic neighborhoods of Rome, a few minutes walk from monuments such as the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain or the Colosseum. Immediately after practice, the Master courses of our institute at the American University of Rome begin, where the students are trained in Coaching and Italian Soccer Methodology, Sport Psychology, Sport Science, Communication and Nutrition. In addition, our players have the opportunity to be part of local semi-professional teams and to train and play in championships over the weekend with their respective teams.
In two years we have had 76 students from 25 countries and this diversity is undoubtedly one of the aspects that enriches our young peoples’ experience even more.
We are convinced that we have created a program of the highest level that has no equal in the world.
Here in Italy you are a partner of the American University of Rome, where you have your Italian office.
Yes, since last April we have partnered with AUR, the oldest American university in Rome. We are privileged because we have our offices in the most evocative district of Rome: from the Janiculum there is one of the most beautiful views of the capital and there is one of the most beautiful fountains in the world, the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, which we call Fontanone in Rome (it can be admired in the first scenes of the Italian Oscar-winning film "The Great Beauty").
With the American University of Rome we are carrying out several projects and have met an environment ready to welcome our innovations with energy and willingness to do. I would like to publicly thank the new president of the American University of Rome, Scott Sprenger, who immediately understood the enormous potential of our programs and supported us on a daily basis.
Let's talk about soccer: you recently entered into an agreement with Serie A. What is the "Sliding Goals" project?
For us it is n honor to be a partner of Serie A. Many boys, including me, have dreamed of becoming professional soccer players and packing the Serie A stadiums. Having said that, only 8% of the boys who play with Primavera (U19) of Serie A teams becomes a professional soccer player. Our mission is to give a concrete opportunity to the 92% of kids who won’t become soccer players. We are happy to put our know-how at the disposal of the Serie A League and all Italian soccer, helping young people to realize themselves in their sports and professional life. In addition, Serie A is about to open an office in New York and we have offered to support them in this brand development operation in the USA. Our task will be to act as a point of reference in the relationship with colleges, soccer youth clubs and Italian communities in the area.
The Italian Athletics Federation is also your partner ...
Yes, a few days ago we signed another important partnership. In this case we will also act as a point of reference for Italian athletes who want to undertake a path of study and sports in the USA and we will work on the promotion in the USA of FIDAL events such as the various top-level marathons organized in Italy.
Today we announce the new partnership between College Life Italia and We the Italians, of which we are particularly happy and which we are sure will also make many of our readers happy. Now to you…
Thanks to the support of We the Italians, we have decided to create a scholarship fund that can give young Italian American or American children who love Italy the opportunity to study and play sports in Italy. Both the students who apply for our Master Program and the students interested in the Study Abroad program will be eligible to obtain a scholarship. A dedicated commission will take care of evaluating all the applications. We invite all those interested to write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last question concerns your mascot: is it true that his name is Colombo (Columbus)?
Exactly. It is an idea that came to our Art Director Giampaolo Flamini, who was fundamental in our rebranding operation. Each of our kids is a bit of a new Columbus conquering America.
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