Category Archives: Sports

EXCLUSIVE: Italy 2018 World Cup Home Kit Leaked

Update: Today we are able to give you a full look at the Italy 2018 World Cup kit, which introduces a very clean, no-nonsense look. The Italy 2018 home jersey will be launched in October.

Currently ranked second in its qualifying group, Italy will most likely have to face off with another runner-up in order to seal a place for Russia.

ITALY 2018 HOME KIT

This images shows the Italy 2018 home kit for the World Cup.

Based on Puma’s new evoKNIT template, the Italy 2018 kit combines a royal blue base with trim in navy and the colors of the Italian flag. Featuring raglan sleeves, the Italy 2018 home jersey sees a new look introduced for Puma’s trademark ‘Formstripe’ on the sleeves, which is now a knit detail.

As we previously learned, a brand-new redesigned FIGC crest graces the left chest of the Italy 2018 home kit for the World Cup in Russia.

Navy blue is used for the v-collar and the sleeve cuffs of the Italy 2018 shirt. Country-specific detailing in the form of jacquard printing round off all of Puma’s Italy 2018 World Cup kit. For example, an Italian flag detail is present at the sleeve cuffs.

Blue shorts and socks, both with navy trim and white brandings, complete the clean look of the Italy 2018 kit.

The Italy 2018 kit will be launched in mid-October, with the away following in early March.

Royal blue and navy. What are your thoughts on the Italy kit for the 2018 World Cup? Drop us a line below, and check out the World Cup Kit Overview for more.

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Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon: Critics have been writing me off for years

Italy boss Gian Piero Ventura admits his side will have to qualify through the play-off spot, as Spain have been too strong.

BY BEN GLADWELL

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says he will not be affected by criticism of his performance against Spain on Saturday, saying he has been written off for years.

Juventus star Buffon, 39, accepted he had been at fault in the 3-0 defeat, which effectively ended Italy’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup directly as group winners, but he said some of the criticism has overstepped the mark.

“In football, everything is subject to opinion, and often opinions can go beyond the truth,” he said. “You’ve got to accept criticism like the change of seasons — it is inevitable, and it’s fine.

“It gets to you if you face real and constructive criticism, but when it comes to just pigeon shooting then you might even hit me but that’s not what I am and not I want to be.

“Since my first mistake seven years ago, people have been saying I’m finished, yet just a week ago I was voted as the best goalkeeper of the Champions League.”

Gianluigi Buffon faced some of the blame for Italy’s 3-0 loss to Spain at the weekend.

Buffon has reacted well to criticism in the past, silencing his doubters following the Confederations Cup semifinal defeat to Spain in 2013 with a match-winning performance in the third-place playoff just days later.

He has been Italy’s undisputed No. 1 since the turn of the millennium and, according to former AC Milan and Chelsea goalkeeper Marco Amelia, he remains the best.

“Despite the criticism of Buffon, I still cannot see Gigio [Donnarumma] becoming Italy’s No. 1 yet,” he told Radio 24. “At the moment, I still say no. The Juventus goalkeeper is going to be at the World Cup. Donnarumma’s time will come.”

Italy host Israel in their next World Cup qualifier in Reggio-Emilia on Tuesday.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame 2017 Inductees and Honorees

 

 

CHICAGO – The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame is proud to announce inductees and honorees for the 40th Annual Induction & Awards Gala to take place at a dinner on Saturday, November 18th, at the Westin Chicago River North. Last year’s Sportsman of the Year award recipient, Eddie Greco of Greco and Sons, will chair the dinner. The program will be emceed by 2016 Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and New York Mets Radio Announcer Wayne Randazzo. Previous inductees including Tommy Lasorda, Jerry Colangelo, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Franco Harris, Vince Ferragamo and more will be in attendance on this evening.

The NIASHF Class of 2017 inductees include John CarpinoMike AdamleBarry ZitoDoug BrunoMike Manganello, & the Acerra brothers. Vincent Viola will be honored as the Sportsman of the Year and Rick Porcellowill receive the Yogi Berra Athlete of the Year award.

Accepting induction into the Contributor Division is John Carpino, President of MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Carpino grew up in Elmwood Park, IL and visited the first location of the NIASHF. Today, he oversees all areas of business, sales, marketing and communications for the Angels. Carpino’s top priority is the fan’s value and experience in all areas of the game. As the principal executive in charge of business operations, he has helped the Halos welcome millions of fans through Angel Stadium turnstiles over the years. Carpino continues to seek out ways to create value for Angel fans, focusing not only on the game inside the lines, but on the entire ballpark experience.

Joining Carpino in the Contributor Division is Mike Adamle, former American football player and sports broadcaster. Adamle played 6 years in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Chicago Bears. Post-football career, Adamle was a sports broadcaster for Chicago stations including WLS-TV, WBBM-TV, and most notably Channel 5 WMAQ-TV. He hosted American Gladiators and worked for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in a variety of roles, including interviewer, play-by-play commentator, and General Manager of Raw.

Former professional baseball pitcher and Cy Young award recipient, Barry Zito, will be inducted into the Modern Division. He played 15 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. His curveball was voted best in the Major Leagues in a 2005 Sports Illustrated poll. In addition to winning an AL Cy Young award, Zito is a 3 time MLB All-Star, a World Series Champion, and an AL Wins Leader.

Also being inducted in the Modern Division is Doug Bruno, head coach of the DePaul Blue Demons women’s basketball team. In 2016, he completed his 30th season as head coach. In 2007, Bruno completed a two-year term as President of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, a position to which he was elected by his peers. Under his tenure, the Blue Demons have qualified for post-season competition play in 21 of his 30 seasons, including the last 14 seasons. He received the 2008 Carol Eckman Award, 2005 C-USA Coach of the Year, Conference USA’s Coach of the Decade.

In the Veterans Division, retired American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey, Mike Manganello, will be inducted. On June 25, 1964 he rode five straight winners at Ohio’s Thistledown Racecourse. He was a long-time fan favorite at Florida Downs in Oldsmar, Florida where he won four races on a single day on February 15, 1968, set a season record with 75 wins in 1969, and by 1975 had won five riding titles. In 1970, Manganello won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky aboard Dust Commander then rode the colt to a commanding five-length victory in the most prestigious race in American horse racing, the Kentucky Derby. In addition to winning the 1970 Kentucky Derby, Mike also had mounts in 1969, 71, 72 & 74.”

Twelve Acerra brothers will be inducted posthumously in the Veterans Division. In the late 1930’s the oldest nine brothers formed their own semi-professional team with their father as coach. Every brother had his place in the team and they all worked together to do what they love most. In the 1940’s the team disbanded when six brothers left to serve their country in World War II. When the war ended, all the brothers returned home to resume their all-brother team for another six years. The Acerra’s were the longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. In 1997, the Baseball Hall of Fame held a special ceremony to honor them.

Vincent “Vinnie” Viola will be honored as the 2017 Sportsman of the Year. He is Chairman, Owner and Governor of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, the BB&T Center, and SSE’s additional operating entities. He is Chairman Emeritus of Virtu Financial and is one of the nation’s foremost leaders in electronic trading. Vinnie also co-owns Always Dreaming, winning horse of the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Past recipients of the Sportsman of the Year award include Jerry Colangelo, Richard Parrillo Sr., and Eddie Greco.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher and 2016 American League Cy Young award winner, Rick Porcello, will be receive the 2017 Yogi Berra Athlete of the Year award. Last year, he had 22 wins (against four losses) and posted career bests in most major statistical categories, including innings pitched, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. He led the major leagues with a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio. With 26 quality starts, he tied for the AL lead. In addition to the Cy Young award, he received the AL’s Outstanding Pitcher Award. Past recipients of the Yogi Berra Athlete of the Year include Olympic Medalist Mary Lou Retton, All-Star baseball player Anthony Rizzo, and 2015 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi.

The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame is located at 1431 West Taylor Street in Chicago, IL. For advertisement opportunities or to purchase tickets for the gala dinner, please call (312) 226-5566 or email info@niashf.org.

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Women’s Soccer: National champs

by AdVantage News August 2, 2017

On Sunday the Fire & Ice Soccer Club of Belleville hoisted the Women’s Premier Soccer League championship after defeating the Gulf Coast Texans 2-1 in Corona, Calif.

The semi-pro soccer franchise is owned and coached by Alton High grad Lindsay (Kennedy) Eversmeyer and featured soon-to-be senior at AHS Briana Hatfield, Edwardsville High grad and former Lewis and Clark and Mizzou standout Katya Hessel and former LCCC All-American Nicole Howard, who is now at Louisiana State University.

Fire & Ice SC was the last standing out of 110 teams from across the U.S. and even Canada and Mexico. The championship also closed out a perfect season for the squad, which compiled a 12-0 mark on the season.

Fire & Ice SC plays its home games at Belleville West High School and Belle Clair Soccer Park in Belleville.

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World Series of Bocce kicks off in Rome

The Bocce world descends on Rome, New York.

The 44th annual World Series of Bocce kicked off on Friday from the Rome Toccolana Club, where thousands of spectators and over 140 teams gather to compete for over $30,000 in prize money.

There are dozens of courts with games going on simultaneously throughout the weekend, as well as live music and countless food and beverage options.

“This is a big event,” United States Bocce Federation Eastern Sector President Guy De Santis said.  “It attracts young and old and from all over which is great for Bocce.  “You get to see people that you really don’t see that often in the Bocce world.  This is like a meeting place.  Everybody comes here.  It’s a great event.”

Some people traveled to Rome from as far as Tuscon, Arizona, including Team YMCA Bocce player Kevin Marts, who’s back for a second straight year.

“This is amazing,” Marts said.  “This is my second year and we play at tournaments on the west coast in San Diego, Las Vegas and Seattle.  Nothing compares to the atmosphere, nothing compares to the level of play that this one has.  This is a great tournament.”

The event wraps up on Sunday.

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YOUR GUIDE TO ITALIAN SURF, WITH ROBERTO D’AMICO

HOW TO LOCK DOWN WAVES IN THE LAND OF LOVE

The shock feels like it should have worn off by now, but Italy has surf. Fun surf. Sometimes great surf. This Mediterranean country’s coastline is exposed to swells from multiple directions and, on the right days, can go off. Numerous surf publications and films have covered this, especially in the past 10 to 15 years, and now they even have one of their countrymen battling it out on the ‘CT in the form of Leo Fioravanti. For an insider’s guide to surfing in the Land of Love, we turned to professional Italian surfer, Roberto D’Amico.

THE WAVES:

One of the reasons why most tourists, and even Italians, would never guess that their coastline can produce surf is because the prime seasonal window isn’t so inviting. Like most places on earth, people come to the beach to cool off during hot spells, often from inland. Summer is generally when the waves are less prevalent and powerful. When the wild wintertime weather arrives, as does the swell, it drives the droves away from the sea.

“I would definitely go around November or December,” says D’Amico. “When the cold starts to arrive, the surf starts with windswell from the south and ends with northwest direction. The northwest swells have longer periods, which tend to clean up the waves.”

WHERE TO FIND SURF:

Italy has a lot of coastline, but the majority of swells are pretty mild in strength, generally speaking. On the other hand, if you know where to go, and when, you can actually score some great waves. For D’Amico, the best bet for getting consistent surf is off the West Coast of Sardinia, which can easily produce double overhead surf during strong swells.

“That’s one place that pretty much gets every swell direction,” say D’Amico. “Most of the swells are windswell, but sometimes the period goes up, and that’s when you can score some real waves. There are so many options — beachbreaks, pointbreaks, and slabs. I think there is still a lot to be discovered.”

EQUIPMENT:

Surfing in Italy is much different than in Indonesia or Hawaii. You aren’t going to need a giant quiver or worry about breaking boards left and right. If you’re used to lugging board bags around the world that are stuffed to the zipper, choosing Italy as a surf destination is much less stressful. D’Amico doesn’t see the need to bring more than two boards. “I would bring a fun board for small waves and a regular board,” he says. “You don’t really need a bigger board. Here, the water feels thinner and easier to surf compared to other places. It feels like every board is a good one, so never stress too much in choosing your quiver.”

SURF CULTURE:

There have been hardcore surfers in Italy for decades, especially in the south. “We actually have a few Italians who surfed Pipe in the early days,” says D’Amico. “Guys like Giorgio Pietrangeli — he helped name my home spot in Santa Marinella, ‘Banzai.’ Then we had Nicola Bresciani, who is probably the one who took Italian surfing to another level, and now Leo. He’s living what we were dreaming as a kid.”

D’Amico and his Italian brethren are thrilled about Fioravanti’s role as a rookie on this year’s ‘CT.

“He’s such a big inspiration for the kids here,” he says. “He shows that with enough hard work, you can make it, no matter where you come from.”

As far as crowds, surfing and the beach lifestyle in Italy have recently seen a popularity boom, which means fuller lineups, and more inexperienced surfers.

“Italians closely follow trends,” D’Amico says. “Now that surfing is becoming the cool thing to do, there are hundreds of kooks who basically only surf for fashion. Literally looking like a surfer is a good thing, so everyone wants to be a surfer. Of course I don’t like crowds, but it’s beautiful that surfing here is such a new concept for a lot of people, something that many thought was impracticable in our sea.”

NIGHTLIFE AND FOOD:

Even if you get skunked for surf, these are the parts of Italy that D’Amico guarantees won’t disappoint you.

“Our food is the best in the world! There is so much culture behind every single place, subtle differences among every little town,” he says. “The best way to find the really good food is to contact someone who knows the spots. Don’t go to the center of any town. Go find little local places where you can see the owner smile as you enjoy his plate.”

And if you are looking to party, you need go no further than Rome.

“Nightlife is pretty crazy. I live near Rome, and there is always something to do,” D’Amico says.

“Personally, I don’t like big discos. I like to go to Campo de Fiori in the center of Rome, have a couple drinks, and see what happens. Roma, Firenze [Florence], and Venezia [Venice]: those are the cities you must check out while visiting Italy. Especially Rome. Once you go there, you can smell it in the air. Roma has its own flavor.”

Banzai, Santa Marinella, Italy.

[Featured Image: Roberto D’Amico. Photo by Capannini]

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U20: Italy beat Uruguay for bronze

Italy have finished third in the Under-20 World Cup after Alessandro Plizzari’s penalty shoot-out heroics against Uruguay.

The Azzurrini had already faced Uruguay in the group phase of the tournament on May 31, losing to a stunning Rodrigo Amaral free kick, but they reunited in the battle for the bronze medal.

Coach Alberigo Evani made numerous changes, including 17-year-old Milan talent Plizzari, but simply by reaching the final four it was already Italy’s best ever showing in the U-20 World Cup.

Augustin Canobbio hit the side-netting in the opening minutes after failing to make the most of a Matteo Pessina error, while Santiago Mele fingertipped a Giuseppe Panico volley over the bar and flapped a Leonardo Sernicola cross off the feet of Andrea Favilli from close range.

Juventus-owned Rodrigo Bentancur turned over from the edge of the box and Plizzari was fortunate to get away with a clumsy block on Santiago Viera.

Amaral’s angled drive skimmed the upright after the restart and Plizzari reacted quickly to parry Joaquin Ardaiz’s effort from point-blank range.

Italy had the ball in the net on 59 minutes, but Panico was correctly flagged offside for his stunning curler into the far top corner from a tight angle, as he’d wandered off when Rolando Mandragora made the through ball.

Nicolas De La Cruz spotted Plizzari off his line and tried from midfield, while Favilli just failed to get a touch to Panico’s cross-shot.

In the final minutes, Uruguay went on a rapid counter and Plizzari had to palm the Jose Rodriguez finish out from under the bar.

Deep into stoppages and with penalties looming, Plizzari flew to palm a Jose Rodriguez curler away, while Mandragora flashed an audacious snapshot just wide from distance.

It went to a shoot-out and was Uruguay’s third of the World Cup. This competition used the new ‘ABBA’ system where teams took two efforts back-to-back.

Plizzari guessed right to save Amaral and Boselli spot-kicks in a row, both of them to his left, giving the Azzurri a double advantage. Mandragora and Panico completed the rout on penalties to win third place in the Under-20 World Cup.

Uruguay 0-0 Italy (4-1 on pens)

Penalties: Valverde (goal), Vido (goal), Marchizza (goal), Amaral (saved), Boselli (saved), Mandragora (goal), Panico (goal)

Uruguay U20: Mele; José Rodríguez, Rogel, Viña, Mathías Olivera; Viera, Valverde, Bentancur; Canobbio (De La Cruz 61), Ardaiz (Boselli 77), Amaral
Italy U20: Plizzari; Sernicola, Romagna (Coppolaro 72), Marchizza, Pezzella; Orsolini (Bifulco 57), Cassata (Vido 87), Pessina, Mandragora; Favilli, Panico
Ref: Palazuelos (MEX)

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Buffon: ‘I am not eternal’

Gigi Buffon admits “this could be my final year” as a player, so it’s only right Juventus and Italy seek his heirs, but shows respect for Liechtenstein.

The World Cup qualifier kicks off at Udinese’s Dacia Arena on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

Was it tough for Buffon and the other Juventus players to move on from the Champions League Final defeat with Real Madrid to international duty?

“We move easily, because at the end of the day I’d like to finish the season with a victory, a good result and hopefully a clean sheet. All these ingredients make our approach to the game very focused,” the captain told Sky Sport Italia.

“The career of a sportsman is made up of victories and of defeats. I have won a great deal in my time and I’ve lost a fair bit too. We must always look forward. There was too much optimism going into a game where even the stupidest Real Madrid player had many more trophies and appearances in big Finals than me.”

The talk ahead of the Liechtenstein match has all been about getting as many goals as possible to improve goal difference in the group.

“I don’t like these announcements beforehand of a festival of goals, as that shows a lack of respect for the opposition. They are 11 men, just like us. It would also encourage our team to relax.

“We know that we’ll need the performance to earn this victory and also that we’ve got no choice but to win, so we’ve got to give it our all and remain concentrated.”

Buffon commented in tonight’s Press conference that “this could be my final year and I want to experience it as a protagonist.”

Meanwhile, Gianluigi Donnarumma started for the Azzurri in the 3-0 friendly win over Uruguay and Juventus reportedly have a deal with Wojciech Szczesny.

“I am not eternal and I never thought that I was. I think of the group, so Juventus and the Nazionale quite rightly have to plan beyond the individual.

“I said in the past that I might not want to be a Coach, but perhaps a CT at international level would be less stressful on a daily basis. When I do retire, I’d like to rest a little bit, as it has been a long and intense career.”

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The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame by Carmelo Desmone

buildingchiNot far from the chaos of downtown Chicago in the neighborhood known as “Little Italy” along a tree lined street is the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame located at 1421 South Taylor Avenue.  I had the opportunity to tour the Hall and spoke with the founder, George Randazzo.  Mr. Randazzo told me how he was trying to sell sponsorships in a book to help raise money for Mother Cabrini’s sports program and while showing the pictures of boxing greats he had collected and would be featured in the book someone suggested he start the Italian American boxing hall of fame.  With the encouragement and support of friends it has become the beautiful facility it is today.

chicagowindowThe Hall has a collection of sports memorabilia which may be one of the best overall collections in the United States.  While there are better and more extensive collections dedicated to one sport, this may be the best collection of multi-sports memorabilia.  The collection is dedicated to preserving the heritage and highlighting the contributions Italian-American athletes have made to sports in America.

The Hall of fame recognizes all the sports.  There is a saber and world championship belt from Prof. Geneoso Pavese, considered the greatest sword fighter of all time.  He taught swordsmanship at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and gave lessons to President Theodore Roosevelt.

There are items from Chet Forte the original producer of “Monday Night Football” that debuted in 1970. The shoulder pads of Brian Piccolo the football player whose life inspired the movie “Brian’s song.”  All eleven Olympic medals won by Matt Biondi are on display.  There are Items from Mary Carillo, tennis pro and award winning broadcaster, The Championship belts of fighters Jake LaMata the “Raging Bull”, and “Boom Boom” Mancini, are on display along with the belts of Rocky Graziano, and Marciano and others along with their robes, gloves and other personal items.

There are the complete race cars of Mario and Michael Andretti, the complete AA Fuel dragster of Joe Amato.  Items from Mr. Universe, Lou Ferrigno, Football greats like Dan Marino, Vince Lombardi, Vince Farragamo and others are also on display.  “The Yankee Clipper,” Joe DiMaggio, Joe Garagiola, Yogi Berra, Tommy Lasorda and Tony LaRussa all have items enshrined here, along with hockey greats like Tony Esposito.  The golf bag used by Phil Mickelson in the 2000 Ryder Cup sits in a display on the first floor.  All type of great sports memorabilia from pool greats like Willie Mosconi to the slippers worn by Mary Lou Retton when she made her famous perfect 10 vault in 1984 are housed in the museum.  This is only a fraction of the items on display at the Hall of Fame.  You leave there with a pride in your heritage and the accomplishment and contributions made by the Italians American Athletes.

Next trip to Chicago include a stop by the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, See the many contributions Italian Americans have made to sports, enjoy a cup of Starbuck’s coffee across the street in Piazza DiMaggio. Enjoy the Italian heritage that we are privileged to share with so many great sports personalities.

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