Fourteen year old, Melbourne (Epping) born footballer, Reno Piscopo is treading where many young aspiring Australian players footballers dream of going but where only few succeed. He has joined Italian football giants FC Internazionale Milano youth development team and from August will join them living his dream.
Reno explains: “Although I miss Australia I just love playing football in Italy. I am so lucky that my parents helped me find the professional training, opportunities and management which will help me develop my skills and experience”. It was the Genova International School of Soccer (GISS) and its affiliated Melbourne team, Melbourne Phoenix, first from their australian campus and then from their italian residential program which ensured that Reno has got to where he is today. The kid is one of a relatively select number of Australian teenagers who have, and are, forging successful professional football careers which straddle the divide between the Australian and European football forums. (see more on second page). Many of these players have used the combination of professional coaching with a relatively intensive regime that Genova International offers at its Melbourne campus, together with a range of opportunities designed to build players endurance, playing experience and professional motivation, like overseas tours playing Serie A, B and C teams, longer training programs in Italy and finally, under the auspices of Genova’s European based director, Morris Pagniello, placement in a European team. He comments "When I first saw Reno on our training fields I knew he had some exceptional talent but talent is only one part of the equation for any player to start and then successfully sustain a professional career”. Morris also said: “With GISS we offer all our players a well rounded program which not only builds their skills, playing experience and mental resilience but also provides the essential opportunities and mentoring to continue developing all those things in a professional environment and preparing to eventually spend time overseas. We believe that the opportunities our players need are far more numerous and accessible overseas so we encourage them to work towards joining our programs in Italy with a view to joining a European team by the time they are in their late teens”.
From GISS to FC Inter, how? Reno joined Genova at the tender age of eight. Although a natural talent with the ball, he has worked diligently over the last 6 years training/playing mostly 6 days a week. He first travelled to Italy to participate in an AS Roma campus and returned to GISS’s Italian base several times for stints where he trained with clubs such as AS Roma and Vicenza who were affiliates of GISS, before moving permanently to Italy with his parents, enrolling in school to continue his studies and continuing his training. It hasn’t been easy and much effort has been put into bring this about by many people, including a great many sacrifices by his family. Being away from family and friends and going to Italian school have been the most difficult however his resiliency and determination to success and love of the world game has him wanting to continue. GISS director also said “We're just at the beginning of a long road, however we have a lot of faith in him and will continue to guide him in the right direction. We wish him all the best and a long and successful career".
The Genova Players Abroad Program offers not only highly qualified coaches but also enable players to train far more frequently each week and through the year than the average Australian football Club supports. “Each time he came on tour I saw him prosper and step up to the plate playing against better competition. He worked hard and has shown that he deserves to be in a top club here. He is humble and dedicated” commented Reno’s mentor Morris Pagniello.
Thanks to Louise Brooks