The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
by David Falk
SEATTLE, Wash.—It’s not enough for some to follow the Sounders locally and perhaps another team abroad. It’s not even enough for some to play locally. For some it becomes about creating a club, a soccer culture, living the sport and building a family from within while living the “FC” life. It’s about breathing, eating, drinking, living and playing calcio.
Deportivo Italia is an adult amateur football club (squadra di calcio) formed and playing in the Emerald City. I found out about them first through one of their YouTube videos and then via their website. I contacted the team to learn more about them.
“Deportivo Italia was founded by Francesco Deleo and Giovanni Rogano in October of 2010,” Community Manager Alonso Chehade tells me. “The players were initially mostly of Italian heritage until it converted more into a club (currently consisting of 36 players) open to anyone who fits with our team.”
Deportivo Italia has grown since 2012 to the point of engaging in two ongoing competitions. “We currently play in two leagues because we have two teams. We compete in the Starfire Premiere Soccer League (SPSL), an invitation-only men’s league for the highest-level competitors. Deportivo Italia Team A plays in the premiere division, and Deportivo Italia Team B in first Division.”
Italia likes to play outside of league as well, and they usually have plenty of offers. “Francesco Deleo, the team’s manager, is the one responsible for scheduling friendlies with other teams,” says Alonso. “He is connected with other competitive team’s managers around the area, who call each other during the off-season to stay active. Other teams like to play with us because we are currently one of the best organized and reliable competitive teams in the area to schedule friendlies with.”
The club has worked hard and played hard since it came into being, and its philosophies are paying off on the scoreboard.
“Since the team was founded our performance on the pitch has been fantastic,” Chehade reports. “Thanks to a well established leadership in the team, we have become a strong group of friends off the field and on the field. On December of 2011 we won the SPSL Premiere Division. This has been our biggest accomplishment so far considering we were one of the new teams competing in the highest level of competitive soccer in the greater Seattle Area.”
Like most adult clubs with ambitions to grow Deportivo Italia concentrates on soccer but also looks for the finances to realize new dreams. “Our short term goal is to get sponsors to help to at least reduce the team dues per player. Some our players are financially tight as they are currently attending college and we would like to make it more accessible for them and new players to join our team.”
Calcio is a way of life for the club, and for Seattle.
“Our long term goal is to keep growing a solid soccer community of people who are great friends and want to become better soccer players.”