GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!

Thomas scored his first goal in a game playing for Club Sportivo Firenze this morning!  He received a great pass in the box and one-timed the ball into the lower right-corner of the net!  It was a great ball from his teammate, and Thomas did a beautiful job finishing!  A group of my Mount Saint Mary’s students were in the stands cheering for Thomas – and our friend Giovanni started yelling: “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!”  Thomas’ goal tied the score 1-1, but unfortunately his team went on to lose 3-2.  Still, a goal in Italy, and with a cheering section, was a great moment for Thomas!

Nicholas’ team also played really well yesterday!  As a defender, Nicholas may not get the same glory as his younger brother, but his job is probably more important!  Nicholas is typically matched up against one of the other team’s forwards, as the Italians tend to play a lot of man-to-man defense.  And, of course, the forwards on these Italian teams are really fast and have great foot skills.  Nicholas has learned to contain these players by not committing toward the ball and driving the player outside and away from the goal.  Impressively, only once yesterday did a forward get by Nicholas, and thankfully, the player was unable to get off a good shot.

Nicholas’ game was an away game at a Soccer Club about a ten minute drive outside of Florence.  I typically get a ride from Nicholas’ coach, Salvatore.  He has really been very gracious in helping me get to these away games.  As we were walking into the soccer club, he offered to have me be an Assistant Coach for the game!  I was happy to help – and also happy to not have to pay the 5 euro ticket to watch the game!  So I went into the locker room with the other coaches and the players, and I was put in charge of handing out uniforms and filling the water bottles.  I know, a glorified water-boy, but all good coaches start at the bottom of the ladder, right?  The players are given uniforms at the start of each game – they do not take them home!  The club then washes the uniforms after the game.  How nice is that?

So I also got to experience the game from the sideline!  And what a game it was!  The score was tied 0-0 until the final five minutes of the game.  The other team had a player that was clearly offsides – and he received a pass and scored.  The ref was looking the other way and missed the offsides!  Nicholas’ coach was molto furioso!!!  He appealed to the ref and to the other coach – but the game continued.  To make matters worse, about thirty seconds later, an offsides play happened again!  Thankfully, one of Nicholas’ teammates made a great tackle against the player who was offsides and he didn’t score.  Nicholas’ coach, though, was really angry – he yelled so much (and it was great to watch the expressions and to listen to the language – nothing like listening to Italians yell in Italian – even if I didn’t understand many words!)  The ref actually stopped the game, brought both coaches over, and argued for a couple of minutes.  I knew there wasn’t much time left in the game – and I was also thinking that it was going to be a long ride back to the Soccer Club.  The very next drive down the field, one of Nicholas’ teammates, Franceso, lobbed a shot over the goalie and scored!  The ref immediately called the game over – and it ended 1-1.  You would have thought Nicholas’ team won the World Cup.  They piled on each other and celebrated the tie like it was a huge win!  Getting the goal at the last second was pretty exciting!

Here are some pictures:

Nicholas and his teammates warming up on another dirt field.

This is the team Nicholas played.  I liked the trees near the apartment buildings.  Most people live in apartments here.  We have yet to see a housing development in Italy like you see in the U.S.  I didn’t take any pictures during the game as I had my coaching responsibilities! 

This is Thomas’ team warming up before their game this morning – on the beautiful artificial surface that the Club Sportivo Firenze has.

Thomas celebrating his big goal with Kevin, Brian, Allie, Kevin, Nicholas, and Seth in the club’s coffee bar after the game.

After the game, we continued our celebration over lunch at Ricchi’s.  And then we said goodbye to Brian Abdo and Allie George who are on their way back to U.S.  Our Italian photographer thinks outside the box! 

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2 Responses to “GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!”

  1. Tim Says:

    Great playing, Nicholas & Thomas ! !

  2. Fr. Jim Says:

    What great photos…were the students teaching about lizard feet?!? That pasta sure looked good. We miss you here, but I can understand why you might want to stay! FJ

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