World soccer power AS Roma is in the US and you probably didn't even know it

The World
Two fans sporting De Rossi and Totti jerseys watch A.C. Roma train in Boston, Massachusetts July 28, 2016.

Two fans sporting De Rossi and Totti jerseys watch AS Roma train in Boston, Massachusetts, July 28, 2016.

Daniel Ofman/PRI

This week, one of the most famous soccer teams in the world, AS Roma, was training in Boston, next to Harvard stadium.

About 200 fans showed up every day to watch the star-studded team train. For a world-famous team like Roma, used to huge crowds, it probably felt like a vacation.

Roma’s two most famous players are Daniele De Rossi and of course ‘il capitano’ Francesco Totti. Totti is 39 years old and has played for the squad for 24 years, something that’s almost unheard of in US sports.

Fans from all kinds of backgrounds came out to see Roma train. Some wanted to get a Totti or a De Rossi autograpgh. One fan wanted a first-hand look at Belgium star Radja Nainggolan’s tattoos. Others were waiting to see Stephan El Shaarawy’s hair up close. Here’s what we saw:

Hamza Rizvancevic (far right) is originally from Sanski Most Bosnia and Herzegovina
Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

Hamza Rizvancevic, far right, is originally from Sanski Most in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Rizvancevic attended the practice to see Bosnian soccer star Edin Dzeko, he said. “My dad has met him before and he got me a signed jersey from the national when they’ve played in the United States before, so I wanted to come here and get him a signature.”

Michael Nechipurenko, Wayland:  “It’s great, we have a great view we can see everybody training and we can watch them get better.” Will Nechipurenko, Wayland:  “I’m here to see Totti.”
Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

“It’s great, we have a great view. We can see everybody training and we can watch them get better,” said Michael Nechipurenko, from Wayland, pictured at right.

Will Nechipurenko, though, had just one thing in mind: “I’m here to see Totti.”

Paula Leon, student from Venezuela:  “If this was in Latin America in general not only in Venezuela this would be crazy I mean there would be a lot more people.”
Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

Paula Leon, third from left, a student from Venezuela pointed out the obvious. “If this was in Latin America in general, not only in Venezuela, this would be crazy. I mean there would be a lot more people.”

Niccolo L. Totaro, originally from Milan:  “…a Turkish friend told me ‘yo you there’s actually A.C. Roma is in Harvard too’ I was like, no way! He told because I was wearing the Totti jersey. I had to come because I wanted to get a picture with my idol Fr
Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

Niccolo L. Totaro, left, is originally from Milan. “A Turkish friend told me ‘yo you. There’s actually AS Roma is in Harvard too.’ I was like, no way! He told because I was wearing the Totti jersey. I had to come because I wanted to get a picture with my idol Francesco Totti.” 

Said his friend Aldo Cassano, center, from Saugus, Massachusetts: “We really wanted to see the whole global Roma team, that’s what it’s all about.”

Aldo Cassano Jr., right, also from Saugus, said when these teams come to the states, it allows them to be exposed to European teams.

“The love of soccer is growing here and it’s going to grow more,” he said.

A.C. Roma captain Francesco Totti pulls off a difficult pass during training.

AS Roma captain Francesco Totti pulls off a difficult pass during training. 

Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

Fans await players for photos and signatures.

Fans await AS Roma players for photos and autographs. Some fans yelled, 'il capitano' — trying to call over Roma captain Francesco Totti.

Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

AS Roma’s coach Luciano Spalletti gives out signatures to fans. Some Russian fans called out ‘Zenit are Champions!’ to Spalletti who used to be the coach of the St. Petersburg team. Spalletti responded with a few Russian phrases which were greeted with

AS Roma’s coach Luciano Spalletti gives out autographs to fans. Some Russian fans called out ‘Zenit are Champions!’ to Spalletti, who used to be the coach of the St. Petersburg team. Spalletti responded with a few Russian phrases, which were greeted with smiles and laughs.

Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

AS Roma and Belgium national star Radja Nainggolan poses with a fan. Nainggolan is known for his eccentric hair and his colourful tattoos.

AS Roma and Belgium national team star Radja Nainggolan poses with a fan. Nainggolan is known for his eccentric hair and his colorful tattoos.

Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

AS Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy gives out signatures and poses for photos as a young fan looks on. This boy called out to El Shaarawy yelling ‘El!’ El!’ at the top of his lungs. After he got his signature he was very hapy.

AS Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy gives out autographs and poses for photos as a young fan looks on. This boy called out to El Shaarawy yelling ‘El!’ El!’ at the top of his lungs — and was pleased when he got his autograph.

Credit:

Daniel Ofman/PRI

 

A previous version of this story misspelled AS Roma.