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Thursday, February 1, 2007

Gabriel Ferrari Becomes Youngest American In Serie A

I was just watching the Inter Milan x Sampdoria semi-final return leg of the Italian Cup. Gabriel Enzo Ferrari made his Serie A debut in the 81st minute. The final score was 0 x 0, and Inter goes through on an aggregate of +3 to the final against AS Roma.

The RAI Sport announcers said, "He is an Italian who grew up, in the soccer sense, in America with the New York Red Bulls." He came in for Emiliano Bonazzoli who was one of their two strikers up front.

If my information is correct, Ferrari became the youngest American (18) to play in the Italian top flight. Giuseppe Rossi turns 20 tomorrow, and Alexi Lalas was around 22 or 23 for his debut with Padova in 1994. A week ago, Giuseppe Rossi of Parma scored on his Serie A debut.

By my own count, Ferrari had three touches on the ball. He made two successful passes, and was dispossessed on the other.

From the Red Bulls site, an interesting article dated a few weeks ago. Apparently, MLS teams couldn't bring in a home grown talent such as Ferrari. Because he may have lost his "college eligibility." Now they are changing the rule to foster youth team development. If Gabriel is good enough for Sampdoria of the Serie A, he doesn't need to play American college soccer. This is the fundamental difference between European academies and domestic ones. Everything was predicated upon college eligibility. Instead of developing youth talent to play on their senior teams.

It is interesting to note that last year, Ferrari went to Europe on his own to seek teams for his services. He didn't wait for the MLS Draft, nor did he go to play in college. Where is Freddy Adu still playing at a stated 17 1/2 years of age?

Pro teams need to develop and discover their own talent. We are the only country in the soccer world with a "draft."


Here is a very interesting interview by Robert Zeigler from Top Drawer Soccer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I played with him at pier 40 in NY, just before he was going to join Sampdoria. He's extremely technical and has a great kick. A perfect lone striker. I thought he'd have to prove himself in their youth team first, but it's great to see he got a break like this already. Keep it up Gabriel!

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