My story with Napoli is familiar, but also a bit different. I’m a 3rd generation American, with Italian families on both sides. My grandparents’ families come from all over southern Italy, one family from Avellino, one from Bari, one from Calabria, and my namesake family from Potenza.
My family was never very into soccer(yeah I know), but my first major memory that connected me to calcio was World Cup ‘94. I was infatuated with Roberto Baggio and his style of play, and also, that rat tail. My family camped around the TV to watch the games for this world cup, and it invited me into the game we love so much.
Anyway, onto Napoli. I’ve always been really connected my maternal grandmother, and her stories of her family from “Provincia Avellino”. She told me stories of how her mother used to go to the “big city” of Naples, the stories of Mount Vesuvius hovering over the city, and the food, oh the food. With that I started really getting into the history of Naples. The sirens, ancient rome, the different era’s of rule, the people, and of course, the club. Our club.
Once I started unpacking the history of the club I had my first, and only true football club, SSC Napoli. Legendary players, a one club city, the passion, I knew this was all for me. My first real season being able to track the club by watching the games was 2007-08, our first year back in Serie A. It saw me see Marek Hamsik, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and my first favorite Napoli player, an anomaly of a player that season, our leading scorer, Central Defender Maurizio Domizzi.
We finished 8th that season, and I was officially hooked into our club. The memories have only gotten more plentiful since that first season. Our qualification for Champions league, with Juan Zuniga clinching it for us against Inter, Cavani’s goal v Manchester City in our first Champions League match, Inler’s goal v Villareal to book us to the knockout stage, our Coppa Italia victories. All pieces of my brief but passionate history with this club.
I cannot wait to culminate all of this off with my first visit to Napoli this coming May, and to share it with my brothers on Sempre!, Raffa and James. The thought of being able to share my first San Paolo with them is really amazing, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring the Sempre! family.
As always, Forza Napoli Sempre!
By Ken Cioffredi Follow @NapoliStats