MONTREAL – It would be tough to argue that Marco Di Vaio shies awy life-changing experiences.
Despite not being able to visit the city of Montreal before putting pen to paper, the Impact’s new Designated Player expressed – on his behalf and that of his family – a willingness to fully integrate into a unique culture and to discover new things in every aspect of their lives as they settle into life on a new continent.
The Di Vaio family will indeed stay in Montreal in between seasons – “The kids have to go to school,” said their goalscoring father – going back to Italy during the holiday season only. The adventure is not just about soccer; it is also about life.
“It was time for me to move away and try something new,” Di Vaio stated during his presentation on Monday. “The club here made me feel important, just as Bologna had done. Moreover, at the age my girls are, it was a good opportunity for them to learn [French and English]. At that stage in their life, it’s very important and fulfilling.”
And there’s not just French and English; Di Vaio will hear a familiar language, too. The 35-year-old said it best when he described Montreal as an “international city,” where he’ll find great numbers of Impact supporters capable of shooting the breeze with him in his native Italian – which 3.5 percent of 3.6 million Greater Montreal residents listed as their mother tongue in the 2006 Census of Canada.
Fittingly, Di Vaio was greeted with a chant in the language of Dante when he made his way through the Montreal Airport gates: “Oi oi oi, Marco Di Vaio, segna per noi!” ("Score for us").
“I thank the fans for that, I wasn’t expecting that at all,” Di Vaio said. “I’ve done nothing here so far, yet there they were.”
Nevertheless, Di Vaio scored quite a few metaphorical goals upon his arrival in multicultural Montreal, speaking French and promising to improve on it while also learning English – the language he will, at some point, be asked to use at work.
And that’s where the life challenge becomes a sports one.