Peruvian-born, Miami, Florida based midfielder Fabrizio Pittaluga traveled over 1,300 miles and emerged from a group of 160 players to capture the Chicago Fire's annual Open Tryout. Pittaluga will join the Fire for the first phase of preseason training camp in Ave Maria, Florida, located less than 120 miles away from his hometown of Miami. it's hard to believe but training camp is slated to begin in a matter of days on Friday, Jan. 20. More on Pitaluga after the break.
"Like any soccer player, this has always been my dream," said Pitaluga. "The dream of playing, the possibility of earning a contract and getting to do it with a team in the country I've grown up in. It's a very surreal feeling and I'm really looking forward to the first day."
The 22-year-old midfielder beat out 159 other players that attended December's Open Tryout. Pittaluga emigrated to the United States with his family in 1991 and went on to play for Miami Kendall FC in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy from 2007-08. Pittaluga has used his American, Peruvian and Italian passports in training stints with Serie A side Cagliari Calcio's Primavera squad in 2007 and Peruvian clubs Sport Boys Association (2010) and Universidad Cesarvallejo (2010-11).
His failure to latch on anywhere would be a concern if this was an actual signing but don't forget this is just an invitation to preseason training camp. Last year's Open Tryout winner Pari Pantazopoulos was announced on January 19 but was not signed to a contract until April 4. This year's squad is significantly deeper than last year's. The Fire didn't have any second round draft picks in 2011 and this year they have two (#23 & #28). Pittaluga is only younger than what Pantazopoulos was last year by two and a half months. He's got a long road ahead of him and will have strong competition from players like Pantazopoulos, Mike Banner, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Michael Videira, and those other draft picks.
Name: Fabrizio Pittaluga
Height: 6'0" (1.84m)
Weight: 160 lbs. (72kg)
Date of Birth: December 1, 1989
Place of Birth: Lima, Peru
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Citizenship: USA, Peru, Italy
Last Club: Miami Kendall FC (USSDA)