Italian Kids and Soccer

I recently spent two weeks in Tuscany teaching at a summer camp. It was like a dream. Italian children are like mini versions of their adult counterparts. Emotional, beautiful, joyful.

We all watched Italy play their last game of World Cup 2010 together. It was amazing to see the kids glued to the screen. They live for soccer here. But Italian soccer needs to start living for her fans too.

I’ve heard many complaints from Italians lately about how the country is stuck in the past in many ways. It’s a double-edged sword – as the past of Italy is probably one of the most interesting, diverse and beautiful of any country in the world. But that sentiment carries into other areas too. Names are important here. They lack the work hard and you’ll go far spirit of America. Once you have a name in Italy, it will carry for generations.

They are wary of youth and change. Hence the aging World Cup national soccer team. They had the big names, but those names no longer have the speed or endurance, and most importantly, the passion, of the younger players that could have been chosen – and who might have taken the team much farther.

The kids were angry and sad when Italy lost their final World Cup game. They had every right to be. Maybe it’s time for Italy to start letting go of their old school mentality when it comes to soccer. Do it for your country. Do it for the kids.