Wolves get back in win column
A season playing in Italy has made a world of difference for Gianluca DelPriore.
The 20-year-old St. Francis graduate spent from August of last year to May of 2022 with Sangiuliano City before returning to the St. Catharines Club Roma Wolves just after the start of their League1 Ontario Men’s Premier Division season.
“It was my first time there and a great experience,” DelPriore said. “I learned all the differences, the little things you have to pick up on, and by the end I was scoring a few goals.”
DelPriore said his club, a fourth-division team, was a perfect fit for him at this point in his career. He described the level in hockey terms as Tier 2 junior A, a notch below the Ontario Hockey League.
“I was new to the team and they tried to fit me in any way they could,” he said. “I played on wing, attacking mid and slowly as I got more game time I got into my position (centre mid). They relied on me to find that pass, get that assist, and then finally once they built more trust in me, I was starting.”
DelPriore said the level of talent was an eye-opener.
“It’s amazing. You go there and think you’re good but everyone is good and then you start playing and learn all the little tricks they have there and then you get to that level where you’re confident enough to show what you have too.
“It really improves your game a lot.”
Roma’s director of soccer operations Carmine Provenzano loves DelPriore’s skill set.
“He’s a young, exciting player. He’s played really well for us since he’s come back. He’s a real good asset for us in the midfield,” he said.
Provenzano said DelPriore had to reacclimatize himself to Canadian soccer when he returned to Roma.
“The physicality of this game, I think it took him a little while to get back into the groove here because it’s a little bit different over there,” he said.
DelPriore is eager to head back to Italy in a couple of weeks.
“It was amazing. My whole family is Italian and I’ve been there before but to live and see the lifestyle is amazing. I wouldn’t change it for anything,” he said. “I’m giving it my all and if that can be my life, 100 per cent (I would want to play there professionally).
Provenzano said he hopes DelPriore finds a permanent home in Italy.
“We absolutely do. We want these guys to go and not come back. It’s a credit to the program,” he said.
The Wolves topped Master’s FA 4-1 Friday. Michael Solomon had all four goals for the Wolves. The game was played at Sir Winston Churchill due to wet field conditions at Club Roma.
The Wolves are home to Windsor Sunday, August 7 at 2 p.m. and have three games remaining in their season.
“The goal is to get as close as we can to the top 10. That means points in every game. We win a game and we leapfrog three or four teams,” Provenzano said.
Friday’s victory improved Roma’s record to 4-11-3.
“It’s been a roller coaster season. We play well enough to win, we just can’t finish at the right time. Our decision making sometimes fails us. A missed opportunity fails us, a counter-attack goal and suddenly we’re down. We’ve been in every game and probably could have won most of those games but that final push over the top hasn’t been there,” Provenzano said.
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