Different Cities, Same Passion: Parma Fans Are United By Faith

Following our introduction to the importance of community in sport, we move on to the first in the series of our discussions with Serie A supporters who have gathered together with like-minded people who want to watch matches together from afar.

Giorgio Martini is a Parma supporter based in the city, yet he identified the importance of the club’s foreign contingent and set about creating a website that would bring them all together. Parma Fans Worldwide has the slogan “Different Cities, Same Passion,” in order to challenge the traditional view that the distance between these supporters and the team’s base in Italy somehow made them inferior.

For no other reward than the satisfaction of making the world seem that little bit smaller for foreign supporters, Giorgio has invested many hours of his own time in forming this community. “The thing I'm most proud of is putting lonely fans worldwide in connection with each other and making them feeling part of a family,” the Parma native told FloFC.

Make no mistake, even with the internet, it is difficult to reproduce the feeling of togetherness if supporters are not in the same physical location, yet Giorgio has managed to overcome this. When legendary Parma captain Alessandro Lucarelli retired after 10 years and 333 appearances with the club, the fan club founder set about involving the international community in the tributes.

Lucarelli had been the only player to remain with the club following the bankruptcy and subsequent demotion from the top flight to Serie D. Taking the responsibility upon himself to be the only constant example and reminder of the club’s mission to return to Serie A, the captain was instrumental in a record three consecutive promotions as they bounced straight back. The 40-year-old even delayed announcing his retirement until the party for that third promotion with the mission finally complete.

Giorgio set about making a tribute video that after hours of hard work was presented to Lucarelli. More than 70 people across five continents gave their input, connecting them not only with each other, but with those residents in Parma itself.

“I was looking for a way to let people in Parma understand that outside Italy there are REAL fans,” Giorgio continued, “so that they would be well received once they made it to the Tardini. The point is to let local fans understand they are supporters, too; they have the same feelings and the same tears.”

By humanizing the foreign supporters in this way, Parma Fans Worldwide has succeeded in its aim of uniting those who visit the stadium every week and those who cannot do so, and has also been in contact with the club itself to ensure that these visitors are welcomed and valued.

“Clubs have an important role,” Giorgio reveals. “Do they consider supporters like numbers or do they consider them like part of the family? I think, apart from the bigger clubs, in other cities there is a huge humanity that just has to be discovered (or translated, maybe). I saw people crying watching the video for Lucarelli. Old Parma people.”

It’s true that foreign visitors sometimes feel alienated by the type of fans that are described by Giorgio as “old Parma people,” those who have forged so many connections with other locals over the years that new visitors to the stadium are viewed with an air of unease or distrust. 

By breaking these barriers down, there is a friendlier and more united atmosphere for everyone, and Parma Fans Worldwide is hard at work to achieve this. Obtaining tickets is a real problem for those who come from abroad to watch matches on the peninsula, with many reporting stories of being ripped off by online ticketing agents.

“Before Parma played Inter at home I was contacted at the last minute by lots of fans who thought they bought a ticket for the match but were told the day before that their tickets were not available,” Giorgio said. “In some cases they had paid 300 percent more than the normal price. These are foreign fans, booking their dream first trip to Italy, all booked and paid for including flights and accommodation.

“Fortunately I could help them—at least the ones that came to me—but this story happens every weekend in every Serie A match, I’m sure of it.”

Giorgio is keen that these supporters are not put off returning to Italy by these unscrupulous outlets, so he helps fans obtain tickets through legitimate sources. He tells FloFC that last weekend’s match away to Cagliari saw a lone fan from Poland join in with the Parmesan away supporters, traveling with them and eating with them as they made the trip to Sardinia. 

Slowly but surely Giorgio is breaking down the barriers, and this week will make a presentation to two Parma Ultra groups to explain the work he has been doing with foreign supporters. He admits this means there is an interest and open attitude in the town in welcoming visitors to their football club, a genuine step forward.

This is what needs to happen across the board in Italy, and Giorgio has big plans to roll out his model across other clubs. Key to his work is the idea that no matter what nationality, football supporters all feel the same things, and using this commonality to unite people in their differences is an ethos that the entire world could benefit from.

Chloe Beresford specializes in Serie A for a number of outlets and can be found on Twitter and on Facebook via her page CalcioByChloe.

First Half Own Goal Gives D.C. United Huge Victory Over Portland Timbers

In 90 minutes of rain, D.C. United emerged victorious in the Pacific Northwest, benefitting from an own goal in a 1-0 win against the Portland Timbers. Bill Tuiloma knocked in Ulises Segura's cross in the 25th minute, giving United their second consecutive win, both of which came away from the friendly confines at Audi Field. The win elevated the Black-and-Red to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, a position that could change depending on other results on Sunday.

D.C. United In Position To Solidify Playoff Position With PDX Trip

After two weeks off for the international break, D.C. United are back in action on Sunday afternoon as they travel cross-country to take on the Portland Timbers. A win could see the Black-and-Red vault back into fourth place in the Eastern Conference after they were surpassed midweek by Toronto FC, who moved into fourth on the goal differential tiebreaker. Both teams currently occupy a playoff spot at the moment but need a win to cement their standing.

4 Notes From The Opening Rounds Of The Concacaf Nations League

The opening two rounds of the Concacaf Nations League are in the books, and we now have a clearer picture of which nations might punch their tickets to bigger and better things or tumble down into a lower league. 

Final 4 Weeks Of MLS Season Should Provide Plenty Of Drama

With the new schedule this year, Major League Soccer has a couple more sprints before the finish of the 2019 season. With the new playoff schedule, the second season is much shorter this year, after having to deal with the November international window smack dab in the middle of the playoffs. This year the playoffs are sandwiched between the October and November FIFA windows, which will help produce an MLS Cup winner in a whirlwind of a playoff schedule.

The Gap Between US & Mexico Is Widening On The International Stage

Rewind the tape to last September, when the USA and Mexico faced off in a friendly in Nashville. Tyler Adams helped the USMNT grab a 1-0 victory under the guidance of interim manager Dave Sarachan. What might be most memorable from that game, though, was the towering center back Matt Miazga reminding Mexican youngster Diego Lainez just how much shorter the then 18-year-old was than Miazga.

Trinidad & Tobago Struggle In Opening Rounds Of Concacaf Nations League

Though it may have been just a consolation prize considering their last-place finish in the Hex, Trinidad & Tobago’s shocking win over the United States at the tail end of 2017 was ample reason for the small nation to celebrate. 

4 Games Left To Decide D.C. United's MLS Playoff Standing

The last time D.C. United took the field in a competitive MLS game, they did their playoff chances a world of good. In a crucial showdown against the Montreal Impact on August 31, the Black-and-Red repeatedly punched their opponents in the mouth over the first 45 minutes of the game, picking up a 3-0 win that massively helped ease the pressure on a playoff race that was rapidly tightening up.

Concaclusions, Ep. 1: Nations League Matchday 1 & Mexico Dominate USA


From clutch finishes to a surprise resignation, the last week of Concacaf action featured just about everything imaginable as the inaugural Nations League is now underway. Away from the opening round of the tournament, Mexico were busy flexing their muscles in front of a rain-soaked crowd at MetLife Stadium. 

The Favorites Roll, Curaçao Narrowly Beats Haiti & More From Days 2 & 3


The past two days of the Concacaf Nations League has provided plenty of drama, decisive results, and world-class goals for everyone to enjoy. With games across all three leagues in the competition, some storylines are already beginning to play out throughout the competition, as we move on to the second match day, beginning on Monday.

Unexpected Concacaf Twist: Gustavo Matosas Stepping Down Because Of Boredom

The Concacaf Nations League began play this week and is sure to provide plenty of drama on the field over the next couple of months. Countries are vying to move to the semifinal round, or avoid relegation, or even jump up a league through promotion. There's always some element of unpredictability in these games, leading to shock results and standout performances from unheralded players.