Joe Balsamo | MLS Soccer Italia Interview

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MLS Soccer Italia recently sat down with FA Euro club president Joe Balsamo, an Italian coach born in Switzerland with familial roots in Sicily, who spent his American career playing in the NASL before dedicating the passion for his craft on the sidelines, becoming a youth coach and founder/president of FA Euro.

MLS Soccer Italia: FA Euro is an important organization for youth soccer in the United States. How did the club become about and what are your principal activities?

Joe Balsamo: FA Euro is a club born five years ago. The intention was to create a club with a professional image with a methodology of training based on a European model, specifically an Italian one. Our objective is to give young talent a pathway for them to realize their dreams, whether that pathway is a scholastic or a professional one.

MLS Soccer Italia: How rooted is the club in New York?

Joe Balsamo: We are in the heart of Brooklyn, in a very urban enviornment that hosts all walks of life.

MLS Soccer Italia: Based on your personal experiences, how much is soccer followed in the Big Apple?

Joe Balsamo: New York is unique because it's a global melting pot and they're severel ethnic groups who have imported their own culture along with their footballing philosophy. Soccer is everywhere here.

MLS Soccer Italia: What specific areas or zones in New York are hot spots for soccer?

Joe Balsamo: Really, there are a lot places in New York where soccer takes place. You have iconic locations like Calvert Vaux Park, where we are located. Several generations ago, it was a place for players around the world where played in then dirt fields. You have famous locations in Queens such as Flushing Meadow Park. However, there's a need for more spaces to play because in urban areas such as Manhattan or Brooklyn. There's more cement than they are green spaces to play sports. There is also a lack of sport-centric facilities, especially for soccer.