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The New Italian On The U.S. U-20s

  • Goal.com, Tuesday, December 2, 2008 2 PM
There was an unfamiliar Italian name on the roster when the U.S. Under-20 team held a Spanish training camp a few weeks back, writes John Mantia. Giuseppe Nazzani, it turns out, is an 18-year-old prospect at Serie A club Bologna. He doesn't speak English, but thanks to his mother he qualifies for a U.S. passport.

"He's a left-sided player," U-20s coach Thomas Rongen told Mantia. "He's a player who can play out of a back four as a left fullback or as a holding midfielder. Positionally, we're not that deep there, so any time you can find a player that piques your interest who plays on a decent level on a decent club you do a little more research and find a way to see if those guys deserve to be there."

Nazzani joined Bologna as an 11-year-old, is now a mainstay in the club's "Primavera" team, and is "tipped to break into the first team in the next season or two," Mantia reports. The player said the call-up was "a great opportunity for me ... a great honor, and also a good chance to show off my qualities and skills."

Nazzani roomed with fellow Italian, Napoli's Vincenzo Bernardo, also called up by Rongen. He played in the team's third of three friendly games, a 2-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano's reserves, lasting 67 minutes before being subbed out. "We're just trying to get the best players that we can regardless of where they're at," said Rongen, "as long as they're American citizens and truly want to represent the country and feel loyal towards the country. That's very important. Yes, quality is important, but we need to know, 'Does this guy, really, really want to play for us?'"



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