Perugia’s Soccer

The red and white fans at Sunday’s soccer match

Late Saturday night, we got a call from our friends Sergio and Milena asking if we’d like to go to the stadium with their family on Sunday to watch Perugia vs. Gubbio.  Hell yes.

Perugia’s team use to be great.  In fact, they even went to the championship once after an undefeated season (a long, long time ago.)  They’ve since been demoted from series A to series C but hope to someday make a comeback and play the big boys from Milan, Turin, Rome and Naples.  Still, this is soccer and we’re in Italy, and the support for the home team was wild.  We didn’t care if it was a lil’ kickers league.  It felt good to participate.

The red and white crowd was screaming victory chants as we arrived, and flags were flying.  This was an especially important game for Perugia because they hadn’t played Gubbio in over 20 years.  And since they are neighboring cities, it was time to demonstrate some dominance.  We listened to our friend describe how certain rivalries evolved between cities around Perugia:  over the millennium, Umbrian city-states have been defeating and conquering each other, often with terribly grave consequences.  Even though the battles are over, the stories are retold and taught in the classrooms.  Apparently, the scars are especially vulnerable on Sunday afternoons.  He said that the citizens are still fighting the old wars.  While the cities of Gubbio and Perugia weren’t particularly combative, they still have some might to assert.  “Just wait till Perugia plays Arezzo!”  he said.  (Apparently, they had some big disagreements during the Middle Ages.)

We arrived early, and after passing through the ticket gate we found our seat.  I think we had the worst view in the whole stadium.

This was taken from my seat.  Pretty bad.  At least the boys’ tickets were only 1 euro.

When the game started, our friends encouraged us to move to the aisle and sit on the steps. There were no ushers telling us to move, no concern of fire safety.  There weren’t a lot of rules.

Milena, Sergio and Massimo

It is quite a bit different from the fancy sports arenas back home.  The concessions consist of bottled water, bags of Ritz crackers, coffee and focaccia.  Apparently, you can get your coffee spiked if you want, but nobody seems to be drinking or eating.  It’s all about the game.  There is no score board and no Jumbotron showing close-ups of the plays.  We couldn’t even find a timer to know how many minutes were left.  So we watched and cheered and counted down on our cell phones.

Within seconds of half-time, Perugia stole the ball dribbling it downfield before swiftly kicking it past the diving goalkeeper and into the net.  The celebration that ensued was incredible.  Tiny pieces of everyone’s program went flying through the air as confetti.  Needless to say, the half-time break was festive.

The moment Perugia scored

Perugia scored a second goal towards the end of the game.  And victory was theirs.  We celebrated afterwards with gelato and beers at a nearby park.

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7 thoughts on “Perugia’s Soccer

  1. Those seats are too funny. I know the feeling, so excited to be going to the game, reading your ticket stub to find your seats…only to arrive there! humph! It seems you figured it out. Great photo Tom. That’s the spirit! xoxo

  2. Sam will be SO jealous. But if the ushers didn’t care where you sat, why not the best aisle in the stadium? (And glad to see Tom got in the futbol spirit!)

  3. The Timber’s fans have nothing on Perugia’s. I don’t recall hearing about any medieval conflicts between Portland and the teams they play, however the Timbers’s concessions win hands down. What a great way to spend a Sunday in Italy!

  4. Thats awesome. I Iove how TD was excited. Is he wearing a U dub hat? At least hes wearing a soccer jersey. Why not just go up to the front row and sit on the steps? That would be great. That doesn`t happen here. Man ushers would say “Get back in your seat!” ha. Where`d you get the sounders jersey, TD?

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