Roman Celentano talks about his accomplishments at FC Cincinnati and the inspiration for Matt Turner

Just a year ago, Roman Celentano was playing college football for the Indiana Hoosiers. Now, he is one of the most brilliant goalkeepers in the NFL. And life comes to you quickly.

Of course, like many other success stories of young players in the world of football, Celentano got a break by chance.

The 22-year-old goalkeeper had spent the first half of the 2022 season on loan at FC Cincinnati’s MLS NEXT Pro team, FC Cincinnati II, shortly after being named as the second overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft – Become the best goalkeeper since Andre Blake in 2014.

Alec’s injury left Cincinnati short among the sticks, so, just days after playing in the US Open against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Celentano earned his first MLS game after losing 2-1 to LAFC. He hasn’t looked back since.

Celentano said about his achievement in an exclusive interview with 90 minutes. “All season I’ve just tried to make sure I’m ready if I get the chance. I was probably surprised to get the chance so soon.

“I didn’t have very high expectations, but anything can happen in football. So I was ready for anything.”

The man Celentano replaced in the starting line-up was, he probably had every right to feel a bit bitter. The 32-year-old was the permanent No. 2 and joined Cincinnati early in the season looking for more minutes after spending four seasons as a replacement for Brad Guzan. Atlanta United.

But ask any former fellow Kann’s and they will tell you that he is one of the nicest players in MLS. No hard feelings from former Ajax, Feyenoord and Netherlands goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer either.

“Alec was in class the whole time,” Celentano said. “No matter what happened. He was just a great professional on and off the field, making sure we all rank. Kenneth Vermeer who played at the highest level in Europe too.

“There’s nothing going on. All the guys are hugely supportive, and while we’re all competing for the same job at the end of the day, there’s only one guy on the field. So we’re all very supportive of that guy out there.”

In 22 MLS games since Celentano’s debut, FC Cincinnati has lost only three times. Orange and Blue are currently sixth in the Eastern Conference and are only a few results away from making their first-ever MLS Cup qualifying appearance.

For a team that has finished rock bottom overall in each of its previous three seasons in the MLS, making the playoffs would be an incredible feat.

“Obviously we haven’t done anything yet, but in terms of this club, it’s just going to be a huge bonus for the fans and everyone who put so much into seeing this club go through the playoffs for the first time,” he said. Celentano. “So we just have to keep our focus. And as the opportunity arises, it will be a special moment for the group.”

Celentano has been playing football since he was 10 years old. At the time, the likes of Tim Howard and Brad Friedel were icons of American goalkeepers. Presently, Zack Stephen, Matt Turner and Gabriel Slonina are leading the mission from the United States to Europe.

Stephen and Turner, in particular, provide additional inspiration to Celentano due to their humble college roots, first being on loan at Middlesbrough From Premier League Champions Manchesterwhile the latter joined the London giants Arsenal this summer.

“It’s inspiring to see guys like Matt Turner and Zack Stephen go down the college road like me,” Celentano said. “Obviously there are some great American goalkeepers who have gone straight to Europe, but for players like me who have gone through college, it’s good to see that there are guys like Matt and Zach Stephen who were in Maryland and now play for Middlesbrough and Man City.

“It’s just an inspiration to me that anything can happen. It’s encouraging to see what’s coming.”

No one needs to ask Celentano if he has aspirations of his own to move to Europe; This is the dream of the vast majority of young American players coming to MLS now.

The Illinois-born goalkeeper revealed to 90 minutes who – which Chelsea Legend Petr Cech was his idol growing up and the Czech Republic clog helped him become a fan of the blues all those years ago.

However, for now, his focus remains on FC Cincinnati and their attempt to make the playoffs and become a competitive MLS team.

Celentano responded when asked about European ambitions: “It’s still really early in my career and it’s only my first season now. I’m just trying to focus on the next game and hopefully I can do the qualifying for the tournament this year.” “After that, if we have talks down the road in a couple of years or so, we’ll talk about that when it comes, but for now, I’m just totally focused on the next game and whatever happens this year.”

Regardless of whether he made it to Europe and the US men’s national team, or played his career as a No. 1 in the MLS, Celentano’s rapid rise from college goalkeeper to professional was truly remarkable.

His advice to the next group of young college goalkeepers looking for their big break?

“Have some patience and bet on yourself. Everyone has a different path. As long as you stay focused with your handled hand and just try to make the most of your chances, anything can happen.”

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