- September 16, 2009
Adam DeClerico had gotten used to pasta dinners, nights playing cards with and hanging out with older Italian men in Venice. He was so used to it, in fact, that he started the Italian American Club of Sarasota.
The idea behind the club started because his father was treasurer of the Italian American Club of Venice.
“I’m friends with a lot of the restaurant owners and business owners who are Italian,” DeClerico said. “I’ve been hanging out with those guys on a regular basis and wanted to make evening dinners available to other Italians, and I wanted to have a charitable side of club by offering scholarships.”
DeClerico, 29, is a second-generation Italian. He was born in Los Angeles but has lived in Sarasota almost his entire life. His mom’s side of the family hails from Perugia, Italy; while his father’s side of the family is from Abruzzo, Italy. When he was 21, he spent one year in Italy playing pro soccer and was able to see his extended family on a regular basis.
The Sarasota club currently includes 56 members ages 29 to 75. It meets the first Saturday morning and the third Wednesday evening of each month. It is also offering a beginner’s eight-week Italian language course that meets Tuesday nights at the John Cannon building, in Lakewood Ranch. And, although it does accept non-Italian members, only Italian members have voting power.
“We’re definitely looking for members,” DeClerico said. “Right now, we’re jumping around to different places for meetings, but within the next year or so we would like our own location. We have little mixers every two months, where we turn a meeting into a party.”
The club recently awarded $500 to its first scholarship recipient, Michael Di Michieli, who graduated in June from Sarasota High School. He has been accepted to Florida Atlantic University.
Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected].
Adam DeClerico on ...
He recently competed in the United States Adult Soccer Association’s Amateur National Cup, in Bowling Green, Ky. The tournament includes ex-professional, semi-professional and college soccer players. DeClerico was invited to play on team RWB Adria, based out of Chicago. At the finals last weekend, his team won 3-2 against a team based in California.
“I love soccer, because it has given me a competitive drive and demanded the discipline to be successful,” he says. “I was fortunate enough to be awarded a full athletic college scholarship and play professionally in Italy.”
His favorite Italian dish ...
“My mom’s all-day sauce with meatballs, pork and sausage and rigatoni noodles.”
His favorite phrase ...
Un abraccio. “It means ‘hugs and kisses’ in Italian.”