Fernando Rossi, the father of Giuseppe Rossi -- the New Jersey product who now stars for Villarreal in Spain’s La Liga and is vying for a spot on Italy's 2010 World Cup team -- died Tuesday at age 60. Fernando Rossi, a native of Italy’s central coast built the Clifton (N.J.) High School boys’ soccer team into a regional powerhouse over 23 years as its head coach. A cause of death was not made public Tuesday.
Fernando Rossi took the helm of the team from its founder, Severin Palydowycz, in 1978 and ran the program through the 2001 season, amassing 353 wins. His teams lost just 95 games and tied in 51 matches. In his final year as coach, the Mustangs won 20 consecutive matches to finish 20-2, earning their fifth consecutive Passaic County championship.
Fernando left Clifton High School, where he also taught Italian and Spanish, and moved to Parma, Italy, where his son Giuseppe joined the youth team of the Serie A soccer club Parma. Now 23, Giuseppe Rossi turned down an invitation to train with the United States men’s national team in 2006, stating a desire to play for Italy. The young striker scored two goals for Italy in a match against the U.S. in last year’s Confederations Cup in South Africa.
Fernando came to the United States with his family in 1966 and starred at Paterson’s Eastside High School, scoring 38 goals in two seasons. He went on to play at Southern Connecticut State University.