Italian star rounds out game

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

The goal is simple for the London Gryphons and Giulia Nasuti -- make her trip to Canada mutually beneficial.

The Gryphons are looking to the Italian national team member to provide them with skill and talent from the midfield.

But even as a national team member, Nasuti understands her game is not complete. She's looking for W-League experience to make her a tougher, more complete player.

Nasuti came to Canada from her Serie A team, Reggiana, in Italy. She arrived in London May 31 and will play her first game for the Gryphons, who are 0-2 in their season, tonight in Michigan against West Michigan Firewomen.

Nasuti is a whippet-thin, 21-year-old student. She speaks little English. Some of the interview is conducted in Italian. She's a soft-spoken individual who knows what she wants and how to get there.

"I haven't played yet, so it's too soon to say how I will fit in," she said. "But I watched the Gryphons play one game and I watched a game in Hamilton. It's very different. In Italy, the game is more technical with a lot more strategy.

"Here, it's more physical with a lot of long balls. In Italy, you can only play with long balls if you have tall girls in your team. The players in Italy aren't as tall as they are here, so we play the ball on the ground much more."

The style fits into Nasuti's learning curve. She wants to be stronger on the ball and improve her play in the air.

But there's a great deal she wants to learn off the field as well. She is staying with the family of Gryphons' general manager Aldo Caranci.

"My coach knows Aldo and when she asked if anyone wanted to come to play here, I thought about it for a while and thought it would be a good experience," Nasuti said. "I was curious to see another reality, not just for soccer, but for everything else, to learn some English and see another part of the world."

Nasuti will learn quickly that in Canada, women's soccer is growth stock, more successful and often respected than the men's game.

In Italy, there are no leagues for young women. Until age 13, if a girl wants to play soccer, she has to do it against boys. Nasuti didn't mind the competition, but for the girls who weren't as good, there is nowhere else to play.

Nasuti says that every sport plays second fiddle to the Italian men's Serie A. Even the national woman's team and women's 12-team Serie A get rare mention in the media.

"It isn't that we want pages and pages, but it would be nice to see a score when we play," she said. "The only thing that really bothers me is if a girl wants to play, she should have the opportunity to play and that doesn't happen.

"In (women's) Serie A, everyone has a good field. But for everyone else, the fields aren't very good, many don't have lights and you often have to travel far away to play."

Nasuti is a student. Other players hold regular jobs.

"If they go to a tournament and are away for a long time, they have to take holidays or they give up their jobs," she said.


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