Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Landon Donovan: 100 Reasons Why You Should Join Roma

Dear Landon,

I recently read a report on suggesting Roma's interest in you. Congratulations! As a huge Roma and USMNT fan, and incidentally a blogger, I could not sit idly by as my favorite club and player were mentioned in the same breath.

So, as a guide, I would like to give you 100 reasons why you should join Roma (give or take a few). These reasons come from three years of living in the Eternal City as a young American abroad and numerous years following the club:

The Club 

Francesco Totti - Il Capitano, Er Purpone, The King of Rome...the list of nicknames goes on. This living legend could be your teammate! I know you've got Becks at the moment, but you've had him as a mate for awhile now. Totti is unheralded: a club man for his whole career, a World Cup winner, and one of the most revered/hated figures in Italy. Most importantly he will do anything for the team he loves and the place he calls home.
New Owners - Roma have new American owners. That's right: American! For the first time in Italian league history a foreign owner owns a club in the Serie A! This is an exciting achievement for the league! The owners are part of the consortium that own the Red Sox. Since they are linked to the MLB, I'd imagine they are familiar with throwing money EVERYWHERE to acquire awesome players like yourself. This could be beneficial...

Squad Upgrade: The team was a stunning save away from winning the Serie A last year with a squad similar to what they have this year. Unfortunately, they did not play up to snuff this season. Next year, we will see numerous upgrades to the squad in hopes of building a championship winning team. Roma is ready to be pushed over the hill and win. I'm not talking Manchester City money, but money that could tip the scales and turn Roma into a powerhouse. And since it's not like City money, you wouldn't be riding the bench.

Daniele De Rossi - I know he elbowed Mcbride in the 2006 WC, but let bygones be bygones. De Rossi is an honest player who is fiery with passion. He is a hard worker, a tremendous leader, and rare midfield talent. I see him as a Michael Bradley 2.0 and similar to Bradley, you would have the honor of linking up with him often during the run of play.

Stadio Olimpico - The Stadio Olimpico is great! Home to Roma and Lazio, it holds around 60,000. It's fairly easy to get to (right near the only river that runs through Rome) and is always well maintained.

Curva Sud - This is the end where the diehard fans sit. Sud is full of song and jeer all match long. Quite honestly, it is frightening to sit there, but it is one of the best fan ends in the world.

Hating Lazio - This should prove easy. Hating Liverpool was one thing. Chivas, another. But Lazio?? Good lord. Just watching a match featuring the baby blue side is enough to boil the nerves. They are horrible and you will see why - which brings me to my next point...

Derby della Capitale - This is one of the most heated rivalries in the world. Roma versus Lazio is INSANE. Fans have died at these games (which is a shame). The passion on the field is electrifying and the atmosphere in the stands is enough to make your hair stand up. This derby is the real deal.
Derby day
American - Along with my earlier point, you would in fact be the first American to sign for Roma. That's pretty damn cool. Plus your new club owners would feel a kinship towards you (not like that matters, but still).

John Arne Riise - Though he comes from your rival Liverpool, John Arne Riise speaks good English and is the whitest man you'll ever see. This will constantly make you feel good about your tan and you can tell him about it in English.

New Coach - Presumably. Since about six big transfers are slated for the summer, a new coach with more experience is in order. Who might it be you ask? It could be the Champions League/Premier League winning coach Carlo Ancelotti, amongst other candidates. You could be coached by a living legend, Donovan. And become a legend.

Europe League - Roma will be in Europe next season. Hey, it's not the Champions League, but who are you to complain, you've never played in Europe before anyway? That said, one of the team's highest priorities will be to win this competition and it could be a good journey.

A Wing Player - Roma need a man who can patrol the wings like you can! The role you played at Everton is exactly what is needed in the Capital.

Consistency - Roma need a consistent player. I would rate you as one of the more consistent players out there.

Trigoria - Roma's famed training ground. Though it's not Milanello (ask Gooch about that), Trigoria is still as beautiful as any country club I've ever seen. They even have pool parties.

Vucinic's unorthodox celebration
Mirko Vucinic - The very talented Montenegrin is surely someone who will provide the movement and up-tempo play you enjoy. Plus that guy is hilarious (see picture, inset)!

Wild Man Nicolas Burdisso - Nicolas Burdisso is a wild man! He is also a rock at the back who can be relied upon heavily. You might remember him when squaring off against Argentina not long ago.

Romanisti - There is rarely a better fan base than the Romanisti. They are severely passionate and are ready to jump for joy or revolt. I coin their attitude like that of a New York fans attitude: they love you if you do good, hate you if you do bad. It's like any big city.

Giallorossi - The team colors: red and yellow. You'd look good in them, I am sure. In addition, the "Giallorossi" is also the nickname for the team. Every squad in Italy does that. Kit colors = nickname.

Serie A - Your skills would tear the Serie A in two! Your pace on the ball will put you in some good positions in this slower moving, tactical league.

The City

History - Rome is unlike any city in the world. As you walk around the streets you see layer upon layer upon layer of history. Many time periods are represented in the vast array of ruins strewn about the city. Even if you stayed for 5 years, you probably will not have seen it all.

Prati - This district of Rome is a quiet upper-class living quarter in the city that is fairly close to Stadio Olimpico.

Monteverde - LA has Hollywood, Rome has Monteverde. It is the "Green Mountain" that overlooks beautiful Roma. This section is (or was in my time) home to players like Daniele De Rossi and Simone Perrotta (you know...the World Cup winners?).

Sunshine - Happy days and rainbows...I would say out of the three years I spent in Rome, 90% of the days were sunny and beautiful. It's pretty much LA climate out there. 

Not Rain - I am sure your time with Everton was full of rainy days, muddy boots, and depressing off days. Not in Rome. Off days are like summer vacation!

The Beach - I know from all your years in California, you must enjoy a fine trip to the beach - unless you are weird or something. The good news is, if you come to Roma, you can enjoy a quick and convenient ride to the beach. You will also acquire a rocking tan since the sun seems to be way hotter in this part of the world (I know this because every time I went to the beach I got incredibly burnt even though I have darker skin). The Mediterranean Sea is calling you, Landon.

Driving - Do you like to drive fast? Recklessly? Well, Rome is the right city for you, #10. You can drive fast AND recklessly without getting in an accident! These crazy Italians are so akin to driving all over the place you don't even have to worry about bending fenders. Lines?? What lines?!
Why not get a moto? I heard Montella has one...
Good Place To Visit - Family and friends will love visiting and staying with you in Rome. There are so many things to do and see. They'd have to be the most boring people on the face of the planet to not have a good time in this city.

Cobblestone Streets - I don't know about you, but when I walk on cobblestone, I immediately think I am in a cooler place than I normally am. Since Roma is probably 30% cobblestone, you have a high chance of being somewhere awesome in the city. Oh did I mention these stones were laid in the 16th and 17th century?

Piazzas - Or "squares" in English, are really nice. They are essentially spots to hang out and relax in the city. Often times restaurants and bars line piazzas, as well as beautiful cathedrals. Favorites: Santa Maria in Trastevere, San Cosimato, Risorgimento, Venezia, San Pietro, Navona, and Trilussa, to name a few.

The People

Italians - Are incredible. They are personal, emotional, and loyal. Sounds like the opposite of many people in LA (and NYC for that matter). You will make friends for life with everyone on your block the second you arrive. You will kiss men on the cheeks. Yes, I know that's weird at first - after all, we're American and weren't raised that way - but it's a beautiful thing knowing someone likes you that much as a friend. What I'm saying is it's a really accepting environment.

Passion For Soccer - The passion surrounding Italian soccer is insane. It is almost frightening at times, but overall, it can be very profound and heartfelt. I have seen tears of joy and happiness in the stands and at bars. I guess it's a good way to take these people away from stark realities.

Passion For Life - Along with soccer, Italians have a great passion for living life. Culture is highly valued in this society and generally people work to live, not live to work. The atmosphere in the city is in turn looser and more down to earth, in my opinion.

Women - Italian women are delightful and friendly to Americans... End of story.

Ex Pats - I went to college in Rome for three years and found many English speaking ex pats in the city. There are plenty of people to relate to if you do not speak Italian.

The Pope - I'm not very religious but I'll have to admit it was interesting to see the Pope's influence on the people and city. Also, seeing him emerge at his window one Sunday's was fairly awe inspiring.

Italian Pronunciations - Your first and last name both end in "N," meaning you have stumped 75% of Italian people as to how to pronounce your name. It will be hilarious. Announcers will stumble and just call you the American. I imagine it will sound something like "Laandone Donovone." But after all the laughter, they will be wowed by your work ethic and contribution to the side.


Pizza - The pizza in Rome is tremendous. Some people will say the Napolitani make it better, but those people are wrong. Try a potato slice with cheese and tell me you don't love Rome...

Suppli - Better known as rice balls in the USA, Suppli are an incredible delicious snack that you won't be able to resist after your first bite. Check out I Suppli in Trastevere by Piazza San Cosimato for the best results. My mouth is watering as we blog.

Pasta - Do I need to explain? Two words, LD: Amatriciana and Carbonara. Eat them. Experience them. Live them.

Gelato - Ice cream?? F*ck ice cream! Gelato is the real deal. Once you taste gelato, ice cream won't be the same for you ever again.

Nutella - Have you ever had Nutella, Landon? The delicious chocolate/hazelnut spread is incredible and can be found in stores, in abundance, anywhere in the country. Boom.
Humanitarian Organizations - Rome is rife with organizations which aim to better society. A nice addition to the caring nature of the city. In turn, a lot of English speaking ex pats work there.

Drinkin' in the Streets - Strictly an off-season activity. It's pretty cool to have the freedom to walk down the street with a cold one in your hand and not risk an arbitrary slap on the wrist. You're not doing anything wrong!

The Vatican - The Vatican can be liked for either of two reasons, or both reasons themselves: 1) It is the center of the Catholic world (if you are religious) 2) It is literally a different country (if you are not religious and want to grasp something cool about it).

Paninis - Are sandwiches, basically - but better, since they are in Rome.

Prosciutto - Finely cured ham that goes in paninis deliciously.

Pancetta - Italian bacon, which many consider better than our bacon. Seriously, try it out.

Coffee - You might not be used to this brand of coffee Donovan, but it is a pleasure to enjoy. Sip either a caffe (pretty much a shot of coffee), an espresso, or my favorite, a cappuccino to start your day off right. You'll certainly be moving after one of these, because those Italians make coffee right. Also, cappuccino comes in cool designs.

Fruit - The fruit in California must be good, but I would venture to say the fruit in Rome is better. There is something about the soil and Mediterranean atmosphere that makes every piece of delicious fresh fruit taste wonderful. Also, you may purchase fruit in essentially any piazza around the city. Campo di Fiori is the best though.

I know there are more awesome reasons why you should come to Roma, Signore Donovan, but I'm tired and can not think anymore. Plus I'm not entirely convinced you'll read this. But if you do, and have more questions, feel free to contact me (offering me free tickets or signed gear is not mandatory).

Some final thoughts on a potential move to Roma...There is really no better atmosphere to live and play. The city is cultural and full of vibrant, down to earth life, and the club is storied and very much on the cusp of growing to new heights. It's a no brainer if the price is right!



  1. how do you still have a job?

  2. Is it that obvious that I worked all day on this?

  3. Definitely your best post yet.. should you email it to Landon?

  4. I tried tweeting to him but he hasn't responded. Maybe he's mulling it over with his family? In any event, I'll keep trying. Imagine him on Roma?! He would fit in so well there.