Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Montreal opens up Serie A player pipeline
by Ridge Mahoney, May 25th, 2012 6:07PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ
TAGS:  italy, mls, montreal impact

MOST COMMENTED

In just a few months, the Montreal Impact has signed almost as many Italian players as have previously played during the entire history of Major League Soccer.

Marco Di Vaio is the latest to sign up with the MLS expansion franchise. He will be formally introduced at a press conference Monday, and upon the opening of the North American transfer window June 27 will join fellow Italians Bernardo Corradi and Matteo Ferrari, and Serie A veterans Nelson Rivas and Felipe Martins, on the Impact roster as its first Designated Player.

“The addition of this experienced player will help the club move forward,” said sporting director Nick De Santis in a press release announcing the signing. “His professionalism and his character will help the club grow. He was the catalyst behind Bologna’s success over the last four seasons, helping the club stay in Serie A.”

Di Vaio comes to MLS from Bologna following stints with 10 clubs in Italy, Spain, and France. The native of Rome has scored 142 goals in 342 Serie A matches, and hit 65 goals for Bologna during the past four seasons. In 14 appearances for Italy he scored two goals.

Though its net has been cast wide enough to attract players from dozens of countries since it started up in 1996, MLS has usually missed out with Italian players. Former international midfielder Roberto Donadoni and defender Nicola Caricola made the journey to play with the MetroStars during that inaugural year. Giuseppe Galderisi and Walter Zenga both played in New England. (Galderisi also had a short stint in Tampa Bay.) Young goalie Paolo Tornaghi joined the Chicago Fire this spring.

Many glittering Italian names have been linked to New York and a few other MLS cities but no others have come aboard. Legendary AC Milan and Italy defender Alessandro Costacurta and his wife Martina visited the MetroStars a decade ago but declined a contract offer.

A cyberblurb last week proclaimed the imminent signing of Alessandro Nesta to play for the Red Bulls; instead, the team traded for Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce.

And there will be the inevitable age concerns about Di Vaio, who turns 36 a few weeks after the transfer window opens.

U.S. international Michael Bradley, who started his career as a teenager with the MetroStars and last year signed to play in Serie A with Chievo, acknowledges that for the top Italian players, MLS is probably the last stop in their playing careers. Yet the league is also drawing notice from younger prospects; of the other Impact imports, only Corradi is older than 32.

“There’s an interest in how the game has grown in our country and how the league is developing,” says Bradley. “Especially guys on the older end are showing a real interest in going to play in MLS and experiencing what that’s all about.”

The natural connection to Montreal is through its owner, Joey Saputo, and De Santis, who played one season in Italy, but there’s more than heritage at work despite talk that another international, Alessandro del Piero, might also be bound for New York or Montreal.

Big names will certainly increase the club’s stature yet Felipe (who has played every minute of Montreal’s first 12 games), Corradi and Ferrari have seen regular time for Montreal as role players. Di Vaio played with Ferrari at Parma and with Corradi for Spanish club Valencia.

“We know he will bring a great element of attacking presence to our team,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “His nose for attacking plays and ability to score goals will make us a better team. We all look forward to him joining the group.”



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
The long and winding path of Arturo Alvarez from Project-40 player to international    
Born and raised in Houston, the Chicago Fire's Arturo Alvarez can look back on a 15-year ...
Jesse Marsch makes Open Cup priority for Red Bulls, desperate to break trophy drought    
As the only original member of MLS not to win a league title nor a U.S. ...
Fernando Clavijo on friendship with Brian Schmetzer that goes back to indoor days    
One grew up in the Northwest and the other emigrated from Uruguay, but Brian Schmetzer and ...
Jim Curtin, MLS's youngest head coach, on breaking in, coaching players today and Bob Bradley's influence    
At no time in the league's history have so many MLS teams employed young American head ...
Pulisic learns his harshest lessons against Costa Rica and Honduras    
A rough pair of Hexagonal matches left the Americans still well short of World Cup qualification ...
Alejandro Bedoya fits the bill for both club and country    
After filling in for Michael Bradley as U.S. captain during the Gold Cup group phase, Alejandro ...
Anson Dorrance: It should be 'moral imperative to grow the game' so an NWSL player isn't making $16,000 (Part 2)    
Anson Dorrance, who this season is aiming to win his 23rd national title with the University ...
Anson Dorrance on Mallory Pugh, foreign talent in college, how far it's come, and what can be improved (Part 1)    
Anson Dorrance just started his 39th season as head coach of the nation's most successful collegiate ...
New Sounder Leerdam is enthused about move to MLS    
Not many teams have used TAM money to shore up the defense, but Seattle chose to ...
Pablo Mastroeni deserved better    
Headed toward a third poor season in the four campaigns under Pablo Mastroeni, the Colorado Rapids ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives