With all of the Olympic excitement in the air, CIAO! will feature one of own sports legends, soccer star Joe Papaleo, who in 1981 was named MVP of the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival! Joe was a star at every stage of the game from his days at CBA and Syracuse University to the Major Indoor Soccer League. He was a first round draft pick of the New York Cosmos of the New York Soccer League and went on to play for the Tacoma Stars, Dallas Sidekicks and Pittsburgh Stingers. Super Producer John details Joe’s many accomplishments, making our interview with this unassuming man even more remarkable.
Joe told us that he sometimes had to make difficult choices between basketball and soccer and told us a great story that he says he loves to tell. He said that when he didn’t show up for a basketball game with Most Holy Rosary because of soccer practice, coach CBA Bob Velasko jokingly took a ball and kicked it and said to another team member “What does he think he’s going to be, an All-American someday?!”
What’s striking about our interview with Joe was what he told us about his love for his family and the North Side where he grew up. In fact he credits the young men that he played with at Schiller Park for his success as a soccer player. He said, “They made me what I am!”
My co-host Jim Battaglia and I were amazed and commented later that we couldn’t have scripted our interview with Joe any better! Without any prompting Joe articulated so beautifully what our show is about…love of family, love of our heritage and love for this great country where our ancestors chose to live so we could have the opportunities we have today! He summed it up when he said, “I chose the wrong sport in the right country.” Though soccer isn’t a wildly popular sport as it is in Italy, Joe is so grateful to have been born and raised here in America!
As always, CIAO! is where you can celebrate the Italian in YOU! Join us every Sunday afternoon at 3:00 WCNY FM 91.3 on your dial with me, Joey Nigro and my co-host Jim Battaglia (or online at http://www.wcny.org/radio/listen-now/classicfm). Italians love to say, “Canta che ti passa!” “Sing that it will pass!” so we always feature great music…a mix of old and new songs by our Italian American artists and Italian singers and composers…music that will lift your spirits…and music that you won’t hear anywhere else!
Tags: Ciao, CIAO on WCNY, Jim Battaglia, Joe Papaleo, Joey Nigro, Joey Nigro-Nilsen, Soccer