By Jyvel Tolbert & Frank Liu
Day 3 was a busy day for our group. Over the course of the day we attended the Italian Open (a.k.a., The Internazionali BNL d’Italia) at the Foro Italico venue, had free time, attended our first lecture on the trip, and attended the AS Roma vs. Juventus soccer match.
Our day began with a 9am breakfast at the hotel, then we left the hotel and made our way to the Foro Italico venue for the Italian Open. Upon arrival, people were just beginning to file in. We received our tickets, checked in, and began to explore. As a group we went to the first court and took a glimpse at the match that was going on. One thing that surprised me about the courts is that most of the seats are made of marble. It was pretty cool. After we took a glimpse of the match that was going on, we split our different ways and explored the venue. Some people went to get food, while others went and checked out the apparel stores. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any big name tennis players while we were there, but we all had fun, took some great pictures, and enjoyed our time there!
After we left the Italian Open, we went back to the hotel and relaxed until we had lecture. Our lecture went over the European Multi Sport Club Association and within this association, we focused on the Lazio SS organization. This lecture was given by Gabriella Bascelli. Through the lecture we learned some important facts about Lazio SS and the European Multi Sport Club Association. We learned when they were founded (Lazio SS:Jan. 9th, 1900, European Multi Sport Club Association: Jan. 8th, 2013), we learned that Lazio SS has over 70 clubs ranging from Ballet to Soccer to Cricket. We also learned that athletes start club sports around the age of 3 and they could potentially go professional around the age of 14 to 15 years of age. The lecture was very informative. Overall, we learned a great deal about Lazio SS and the European Multi Sport Club Association.
As night falls we began to make our way back to the Foro Italico, where the city turns its focus on the marquee matchup between AS Roma and Juventus. Roma was struggling for a champions league spot so this match had great importance, especially because Juventus is dominating league performance.
Our gameday experience started with a long bus ride. There were countless fans waiting at almost every stop since we got on and unfortunately for them, we filled up the entire bus.
Stadio Olimpico, the home stadium for AS Roma, also did not disappoint. The fans built up a great atmosphere from miles away from the stadium right up to the gate itself. Our tickets were also at the very top of the stadium so the view was also stunning.
The game itself was full of excitements and had all the elements of a great soccer game. Juventus came out strong in the first half and controlled most possessions. Even without half of their normal starting lineup, they still managed to create many lethal chances. However, Roma goalkeeper Mirante was actually having his game of the season and saved three one on one attempts that would have put Juventus ahead. Roma being dominated by Juventus helped build up this tension for most of the game that actually made the game so much more interesting. In fact, it wasn’t until the 79th minute that Roma finally capitalized on a Juventus turnover and captain Alessandro Florenzi managed to chip it over Juventus Goalkeeper Szczesny to take the lead in the game. From that point Juventus started to panic a bit and eventually gave up a second goal to another Roma counter attack in the 92nd minute. Overall, it was just a great experience as Roma is one of the world’s most famous soccer clubs and has that rich history. It was such a great evening to witness top tier European soccer inside this amazing venue.