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New Soccer Coach Boasts Italian Charm

Jim Amidon — I learned about the hiring of new head soccer coach Roberto Giannini long before most on campus, but I had to sit on the news until all of the formalities of human resources paperwork had been completed. Since I wasn’t a part of the interviewing process, I had only Roberto’s resume to use when writing the press release about him.

Finally, on Monday, I had the chance to meet the man who will lead the Wabash soccer program into the 2006 season. While we spent only 15 minutes together as I photographed him, I was immediately impressed by his Italian charisma and charm. He reminded me of the friendly and hospitable people I met while traveling through Italy with John Fischer’s Roman Art and Archeology class a few years ago.

Roberto hails from Bologna, a city he described as off the tourist path and a "real Italian city." I told him that my friend, Mark Shreve, is working in Perugia, to which he replied, "Perugia is home to the largest university for foreigners." Yep, that’s where Mark works, I said. He then talked passionately about how Bologna and Perugia are much the same; lots of old Italian charm and businesses that cater to locals, not tourists. My mouth was watering as he covered Parma’s famous hams and cheeses and the local wines.

My 15 minutes with Roberto Giannini ended with me wishing him the best of luck in his new gig at Wabash, and leaving with the feeling I had known the guy for years.

Here’s hoping that our current and future players have that same warm experience in their interactions with their new soccer coach. If so, the wins will certainly follow.