Sophomore-midfielder Cesare Marconi preparing to take a shot. Photo by Ian Feldmann.
UMBC’s sophomore-forward Cesare Marconi has been progressing in his first season with the team, scoring three goals and assisting on three others in six games. He was named UMBC Athlete of the Week after scoring two late goals to help the team defeat Rutgers 3-2. In just a short time, Marconi has become one of the most beloved players by Retriever fans. With his amazing play early on in his career, Marconi is surely on track to become a star.
Marconi, 20, hails from Loano, Italy and is playing for the Retrievers after spending a year with the University of Montevallo Falcons, where he scored 10 goals in 18 games and made the NCAA Division II All-Conference team. He also won numerous individual awards in Alabama, but his desire to play for a Division I team and his admiration for Retriever fans brought him to UMBC. He certainly wowed those fans with his performance against Rutgers, and afterwards he said, “I really like to play in front of big crowds, but where I grew up in Italy we don’t have crowds like this.”
Marconi is a fan of AC Milan, and a pseudo fan of Manchester City. In his spare time, he watches tennis, and plays Fortnite. His favorite movies are Marvel Avengers and Iron Man. He says his favorite food is sushi “even though [he is] Italian.” His best friend on the team is senior-midfielder Saif Arar.
Marconi credits the senior players with helping him adapt to the team, classes and UMBC campus life in general. He lists senior-defenders Kyle Saunderson and Mohammed Arar, as well as senior-midfielders Patrick Jean-Gilles and James Gielen, as most helpful.
“I didn’t expect [to win the UMBC Athlete of the week],” Marconi said on his individual honor. “I won it on Tuesday and the week was not even over yet. It was a good feeling, and [winning] is not a reason to sit back, but to chase something bigger, like America East player of the week. The most important is still [performing] on the field.”
His personal goals this year are to win the America East championship, concede less and score in every game. He is not chasing solo awards because he believes that if the team does well, individual honors will follow automatically.
Marconi describes Coach Pete Caringi as a good coach who makes players feel his presence on the touchline, which helps keep them focused during games.
“When he saw we had a weakness in scoring, he put all the forwards in a [tight space],” Marconi said on Coach Caringi’s training methods. “He told us to simply shoot into an empty goal from one foot, two feet. Just to keep in touch with the goal.”
He said Coach Caringi knows what teams need because of his experience.
Marconi also spoke about his journey from Sampdoria’s academy to UMBC. He explained that he first played for a local team. Sampdoria called him up to their U-17 team at 14, and he spent three years there. He also spent a year at Lucchese in Serie C. He then spent another year in the fourth division with Ligorna, where he was fortunate enough to meet Nicolo Baudo, founder and CEO of Yes We college, a school in Italy that helps student-athletes get scholarships to the United States.
“[Baudo] said to me, do you want to go to America, I said ‘I wish!’,” Marconi quipped.
Baudo helped him get to Montevallo on a scholarship. He liked playing for the Falcons but when he saw the passion of Retriever fans against Maryland, he said, “Let’s go [to UMBC]!”
“I repeat the things I do before every game,” Marconi said on his routine. “I’m very superstitious. Two times a week I eat sushi, I eat Cheerios every game-day morning. I don’t like to change my routine too much.”
Finally, Marconi spoke on how far he believes the team can go.
“The team is complete and we don’t have weaknesses,” Marconi said on the team’s strengths. “If we keep building our wall brick after brick and playing our way, honestly I cannot see any team that can stop us.”