Born: February 1, 1987
Giuseppe Rossi was born February 1, 1987 in Teaneck and grew up in Clifton. His parents, Italian immigrants, taught at Clifton High School, where his dad also coached soccer. Giuseppe excelled in youth soccer, starring for the Clifton Stallions. Believing his son had the makings of a world-class player, Fernando Rossi moved with his son to Italy, where Giuseppe entered the youth program with Parma FC. He proved to be effective in a variety of attacking roles, showing exception skill converting difficult passes into quick, hard shots.
In 2004, Manchester United purchased Giuseppe’s contract. He scored his first goal for ManU in a 2005 win over Sunderland. Three months later, in January 2006, he had his first multi-goal game. Giuseppe had to make a tough call in 2006. Coach Bruce Arena invited him to train with Team USA as they prepared for World Cup 06. He declined, hoping to earn a spot on the Italian national team instead.
Later in 2006, Manchester United loaned Giuseppe to Newcastle United so he could gain more first-team experience. In the second half of the 2006–07 season, he was loaned out to Parma. He scored 9 goals in 19 games for his old team. He would appear in the 2008 Olympics for Italy, leading the tournament with 4 goals; in 2010 he wore the captain’s armband for the first time, in a friendly against Romania.
In the summer of 2007, Manchester sold Giuseppe to the Spanish club Villarreal. He proved to be an effective striker, scoring 82 goals in 192 games over four-plus seasons, including 32 in 2010–11. An ACL injury suffered at the beginning of the 2011–12 season kept him off the field for more than a year.
The next time Giuseppe suited up it was for the Italian club Fiorentina, in the spring of 2013. In 2013–14, he netted 15 goals in 20 games for his new club. Three came in a 14-minute span against powerhouse Juventus, turning a 4–2 deficit into a historic 5–4 win. Fiorentina hadn’t beaten Juventus in 15 years. Another knee injury sidelined Giuseppe early in 2014. His rehab schedule had him on track to be 100% by World Cup 2014.