It’s been a long and winding journey for Giuseppe Rossi that eventually landed him in Salt Lake City.
He’s spent the last few summers back home in New Jersey training with the New York Red Bulls just to stay fit following a knee injury
Rossi wound up back at Villarreal, where he enjoyed his most prolific stretch with 54 goals in 136 games from 2007-2013. He considered it a productive two months training with the Spanish side, but ultimately it didn’t yield the result he was hoping for.
“I had a chat with [coach Javier] Calleja and I said, ‘Hey coach listen I know you guys need a striker out here, what’s the possibility of staying here,’” he told reporters on a Thursday conference call. “And he said it’s not a matter of your ability, it’s just a matter of you haven’t had a game in a year or a year and a half and we’re in the middle of our season and it’s not ideal. So I totally understand where he was coming from and that was that.”
Rossi said a month later, he was in Sandy training with Real Salt Lake. Immediately, the 33-year-old forward said the vibe was positive.
“It was the right energy that I felt from them, the right words were said, I felt as if they really wanted me to be a part of this project,” Rossi said. “Fast forward a week and I was there in camp and doing what I know best.”
Rossi said he started making strides on some personal goals — integrating himself within the team, and in his new environment.
“I was getting into the groove, I was understanding things, I was creating relationships, friendships, talking about soccer, talking about things to do around the city, maybe grabbing dinners together and what not,” he said.
The second part, earning the trust of his teammates and coaches on the field, as someone who can be relied on in big moments, is on hold because of the league’s suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But after waiting as long as he has to step back on the field, dealing with injury setbacks and disappointments abroad, Rossi believes he’s well suited to deal with another delay.
“The situations that I’ve been through in the past, having things taken away from me, which was soccer for injuries, creating that mindset of how to come back stronger, has definitely helped me make it through this period,” Rossi said.