MATTHEW PALLESCHI: A promising start

After being cut, I kept contact with Peter (Pinizzotto) and the team because I was hoping for a second chance. I think that my injury was a blessing in disguise. Two years ago, I think that I was not ready to play with a talented team like the Impact. After the injury, I was approached by the Toronto Lynx. The 2006 season with the Lynx was very beneficial and I gained a lot of experience. I wasn't the same player when I tried out at the camp this spring.

You seem to have found your place on the starting line-up quite fast?
I think that both the training camp and the beginning of season were very good. I’m happy because I’m doing well and the team is playing great. I played all nine games so far, eight of them as starter, which went beyond my expectations before the start of the season. Nick (De Santis) is using me as a wing midfielder so I can use my speed and my shot. He also gives me the chance to be more creative and I like that.

Your teammate and friend Andres Arango is also playing his first season with the team after having played the 2006 season with the Lynx. Do you think your adaptation with the club has been easier with Andres’ presence?

For sure! Andres and I have been playing soccer together since we were kids. When we were young, there was a great rivalry between us. I was playing for Richmond Hill and Andres was playing for North York. I was trying to score and he was trying to stop me. I think that his team was better than mine but as far as match-ups went, I would say we were even (laughs). Today, we have a great relationship. We talk a lot after the games and during training. It helps us to mutually progress.

You are only 24 and your resumé already demonstrates that you are a seasoned pro soccer player. What experience have you gained over the past few years?

I played many years for the Vaughan Shooters organization and we reached the Championship final in my last three seasons (2003 to 2005) but unfortunately without winning once. So I hope that I will have the chance to win a playoff Championship with the Impact. I also spent a few months with Frosinone Calcio, in division C1/B, in Italy. I also tried out in Scotland and Sweden but it was not worthwhile for me to sign a contract in those countries.

You also played for Humber College. Why didn’t you have a try in the United States, in the NCAA?

College level soccer in Canada is similar to the soccer level you find in the US. There are less teams in Canada but it’s very competitive. When I was 19, I wanted to play in Europe so I decided not to accept a US scholarship. I then graduated in marketing. After my soccer career, I would actually like to work in advertising.

Outside soccer, it seems that you have a passion for acting and movies?

A few years ago, I took a few acting classes but it was more for my personal pleasure than to make a career out of it. This domain has always attracted me. I love movies, especially comedies with Will Ferrell. Wedding Crashers is probably the funniest movie I’ve ever seen. But sport remains my life. During the off-season, I play soccer and hockey a lot. Every Sunday, we also organize football games with friends.