WASHINGTON- Soccer is a world sport that brings communities and cultures together through playing the beautiful game. The Bellomo family, a Palestinian and Italian family who have recently migrated from Bethlehem, is an example of that. Vincenzo and Carol Bellomo have gotten involved with DC Soccer Club Brookland, so that their son, Antonio can play soccer.
Tom Walsh, Antonio’s coach and Director of Soccer for DC Soccer Club Brookland said, “It has been a pleasure to work with the Bellomo's and Antonio in particular over the past month. Soccer has a great way of connecting people of different cultures and beliefs, and it is no different in this case. I look forward to making a positive impact on Antonio's Soccer Journey, as well as his trajectory as a person. The boys have enjoyed getting to know him and he has integrated into the team extremely well!”
Antonio has played soccer since he was 5 years old in Bethlehem. The first thing he asked Vincenzo after learning they were moving was, “Can I play soccer in America?” Upon arriving in Brookland, the family found Tom Walsh, Director of Soccer for DC Soccer Club Brookland, and tried out for the U12 Brookland travel team. When he is not playing with the club, Antonio loves to watch SSC Napoli from Italy.
Vincenzo Bellomo arrived in Palestine 17 years ago as a volunteer where he met his wife, Carol, and had Antonio and his sister, Lea. The family works with the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, who are in Vincenzo’s words, “the custodians of the holy places and the holy lands.” Vincenzo was the local director of the charity and asked for a sabbatical after 17 years of service.
Palestine is a conflict zone, so Vincenzo brought his family to the US to “live in different places during their lifetime.” The family came to Washington, DC on behalf of the Franciscans. The family did not necessarily choose to come to America, however, Vincenzo says they like the country because “it is a different culture and a way to improve our English (which the children had already been studying) and world knowledge.” He continued, “It is a good opportunity to meet you guys and get to know your people and culture. We are happy.” The Bellomo’s live in Brookland, where there is an important Monastery of the Franciscan Mission. The family will be staying in DC for one year.