Sports

Bolton youngster keen to forge a career in the beautiful game

March 19, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Written By ROBERT BELARDI

From Bolton, all the way to the University of South Florida, 18-year-old defender Salvatore Mazzaferro has had quite the soccer story. 

The Caledon native recently returned back to Canada from the Sunshine State on Friday, explaining that he will be self-isolating himself voluntarily for precautionary purposes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On the phone with the Citizen, Mazzaferro described that he is an avid supporter of Serie A giants Juventus and the Italian national team. He began as a defender and his favourite player is 35-year-old stalwart, Giorgio Chiellini from the Bianconeri. 

His story begins at the local club, which eventually lead him to an NCAA scholarship. 

“I started off with Bolton, maybe around the age of five or six, I began with the select team. Which then, went into the rep team. That was probably around U8, U9,” Mazzaferro explained. 

A job opportunity presented itself for his father, Cosimo Mazzaferro, and the family left Bolton for London, Ontario. 

In the city, Mazzaferro and his father approached one of the top clubs in Canada at the time; FC London. 

His father spoke with the coach, who could not comply with the family’s request to join the top tier team. The club could only accommodate that Mazzaferro join the B or the C team, in which he was prepared to do. 

When he was asked to attend his first training session, the second-tier team took on the top-flight club in London. It was the B team versus the A team for practice. 

“Within the first five minutes, I was defending the best player on FC London.” 

“I absolutely, threw him to the ground,” Mazzaferro exclaimed. 

Mazzaferro said the coach, pleaded to his mother, that he had a spot on the A-team. 

For a few seasons, he excelled and won MVP as a midfielder and striker, a year above his age group.  

When the time came to move back to the Greater Toronto Area, Mazzaferro joined the Brampton system for a few seasons, leading the club as its captain. 

Atletico Toronto called him to join the best players from all clubs in the area to form one team in this academy. He began playing there in grade seven and grade eight. The team won the Canadian National Championship in his grade nine year. 

“From that moment, I got scouted by TFC.” 

Mazzaferro travelled to Europe as a member of Toronto FC, and has remained a part of the academy team ever since. He excelled as a defender and has grown immensely as both a player and person. 

Amidst the young man’s success, offers from division one school’s in the United States were piling up at his doorstep. After travelling all across the country, visiting campuses and meeting coaches, the final stop in South Florida sold him the most. 

It was the weather. The campus. The training facility. Can you blame him? How could you reject the University of South Florida? 

“The team and the coaching staff, were another huge factor. I couldn’t play with a coach I didn’t agree with or I didn’t get along with. And the players. I had to feel comfortable with the players on the team. Given there is a lot of international players, they were going through the same thing that I was going through,” Mazzaferro explained. 

Adjusting to the climate while competing in this sport at such a high level was challenging and adjusting to Florida cuisine versus homestyle cooking wasn’t easy either. 

It is his first time on his own, in a new country, a new place and a new style of soccer. He says the American version of the sport is physical; every coach promotes weight lifting. 

The Bulls finished the year 10-7-1. Mazzaferro started all 18 matches this year, logging 1,637 minutes on the pitch; the most minutes played on the roster. 

Although Mazzaferro says he may not return to the campus until July (depending on what transcends with the coronavirus), he does not foresee himself finishing all four years at the school. 

He believes he is ready to take the next step into the professional level. It’s where he wants to be and what he loves to do. 

“I don’t see myself being there for the entire four years. I believe, at the rate that I’m going, I just won the freshman award over there, I had an excellent season,” Mazzaferro insisted. 

“I believe next season too, I hopefully will have a great season. The sophomore season is usually a huge factor for the draft and developing a Generation Adidas contract, which is a contract with an MLS team maybe.” 

His aplomb for developing will always remain. We’ll see what transpires once the sophomore season is finished. 



         

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