Does your country have a saying/slogan?
When it comes to soccer, “Forza Azzurri!” is our cheer. Otherwise, we all have a grandmother who told us to “Mangia!!” (“Eat!!”)
Can you tell us about your team’s makeup? How did your team come together?
Team Italy 2019 is a combination of people who have been on the team in the past, plus some new players from both Italy and the United States. Many geographic areas are represented, and we’re learning words in each other’s dialects, which is a lot of fun.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
Soccer requires very little in the way of equipment, and since it is played all over the world, most people are familiar with the rules. As a result, a game can break out at any moment, in any place, among any group of people. A common interest and a common passion go a long way, so the Unity Cup is the ultimate in inclusivity. Play on the field extends into friendships off the field and the sharing of cultures. Basically, soccer and the Unity Cup make magic!
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about the culture of the country your team represents?
There are many Italian restaurants in Philadelphia, of course, many of which host regular gatherings to watch soccer matches. Gran Caffe L’Aquila on Chestnut Street is the home of Roma Club Philadelphia and shows all Serie A matches. The America-Italy Society on Broad Street is the perfect place to learn and practice Italian. Filitalia, in South Philadelphia, hosts a number of cultural events, offers scholarships to students, and also offers language classes.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about your team’s country?
I wish more people knew that Italy, with 55, has more UNESCO World Heritage sites than any country on the globe except China, which also has 55 sites. For some context, consider that the entire country of Italy, in area, is a little bit bigger than Arizona.