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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Giuseppe Rossi Makes History at Parma

This afternoon, history was made as the first American since 1996 played in the Serie A. Not only did he start the game, but he scored the winning goal in the 75th minute for relegation zone Parma. Rossi evaded four defenders before blasting his shot past Torino keeper, Taibi, who managed to get a hand on the ball. A tremendous debut for 19 year old Rossi (he will turn 20 on 02 February,) and this was the first Serie A triumph for Parma in three months.

A few days ago, it was announced that the Teaneck, New Jersey native had been loaned from Manchester United to his childhood club of Parma. Rossi grew up in the States, but spent many formative years in Italy. He began his career with the Parma youth team, but caught the eye of Manchester United. In 2004, he went to Old Trafford on a free transfer during the financial crisis of Parmalat, then owners of the Parma team. He is a striker with a very good left-footed shot.

Parma, for a small club, has always produced great talent. World Champions Gigi Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro played there before going on to bigger things. So did Lilian Thuram and Hernan Crespo. Rossi should receive playing time, which did not occur during his most recent loan to Newcastle United. Since Parma is fighting relegation, this will be an excellent period for his own personal development. He also features on the Italian U-21 team, and is rated very highly by Sir Alex Ferguson, among many others, at Manchester United. The terms of the loan are for six months, so Rossi will return to England in the summer.

Prior to today, LA Galaxy President and GM Alexi Lalas held the distinction of the only American to play in the Italian top flight. Last week, another American, Gabriel Enzo Ferrari, signed a contract with Sampdoria of Genoa.

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