Italian sport: Two flags, one sport ... soccer!
- WTI Magazine #79 May 13, 2016
WTI Magazine #79 2016 May 13
Author : Umberto Mucci Translation by:
Here in Italy, soccer is more popular than all other sports combined. It is becoming stronger and stronger in America, too. Many strong Italians play for the American league today, such as Andrea Pirlo for the New York City league and Sebastian Giovinco for the Toronto league. The coach of the Miami team playing in the second division, a team owned among others by the past champion Paolo Maldini, is Alessandro Nesta, his teammate at Milan, who won all some years ago. Plus, Italian citizen Giorgio Chinaglia, who played for the New York Cosmos in the '70s, holds the record for the most goals scored in the United States.
The world of Italian soccer has met the world of American business, and it has done so thanks to Italian-Americans. This fusion began in 2011, when Italian Americans Thomas DiBenedetto and James Pallotta bought the Associazione Sportiva Roma, a prominent professional soccer club in Italy.
Also in 2014 Joe Tacopina (who was part of the consortium that bought Roma, too) and Joey Saputo (who is actually Italian Canadian) bought Bologna Calcio. Thanks to them, Bologna is back in Serie A after a year in the second division, and today plays an entertaining football enjoyed by everyone: Bologna's coach is Roberto Donadoni, a former champion who briefly played for New York MetroStars at the end of his career as a soccer player.
Some time ago it was rumored that Mike Piazza, the Italian American baseball icon, wanted to buy the Como soccer team. The deal then was not defined, but the interest of the Italian American champion for Italian soccer remains: the fans of the Palermo soccer team, at war with the president of the team, a few days ago wrote Piazza to ask him to rescue the team by buying it.
This sparked a trend of Italian Americans buying Italian teams. Italian American sports executive Charlie Stillitano brings the best Italian teams to play summer tournaments in America against other prestigious European teams. Thanks to him, American soccer fans won't have to fly all the way to Europe to watch them play.
Finally, the prestigious Milan FC is the protagonist of the news of these days: the Italian American manager Salvatore Galatioto, who already finalized some of the most important trades that occurred in American sports, is the leading advisor in the negotiations that could lead to the acquisition of the Italian soccer team that has won most, from some Chinese investors.
In short, American business culture is increasingly taking root in Italian soccer, thanks to the culture of Italian Americans who combine a passion for the sport and ability to do business. Clearly, this shows that Italy needs more America and America needs more Italy, which falls perfectly in line with the message of We the Italians: "Two flags, one heart."