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Membership in AS Roma fan club costs $40 – plus your very heart and soul


The red and yellow décor in part of Massimo Musumeci’s house suggests that he is a fan of AS Roma. To know for sure, ask him about the time when severe weather called for an evacuation, and he immediately grabbed his most prized items: his collection of scarves and shirts in team colors. Or how he asked that a christening (and he was a godfather!) and the reception following a family member’s marriage (and it was his mother’s remarriage!!) be rescheduled so he could attend Roma games at the stadium in Rome. Or his burial plans: in Rome, with a Roma jersey in his coffin.

Gigio Longo is somewhat less intense, but still spirited enough to devote whatever it took to head to the Union of European Football Associations finals last May in Budapest, Hungary, where he was honored as the Roma fan who had traveled the farthest. “Even though we lost, it was one of the best sporting events of my life,” he said.

Musumeci is presidente and Longo vice presidente of Roma Club Philadelphia, the only official club in the Philadelphia area for Associazione Sportiva Roma, which has played in the top tier of Italian football since 1927.

The club meets at Gran Caffè L’Aquila in Center City Philadelphia for every match. Luckily for the tifosi, the caffè opens early and closes late, because AS Roma matches start as early as 6:30 a.m. Eastern. The caffè has even opened extra early, Longo said, for important matches.

Not that Musumeci is enjoying anything off the lengthy menus, including one that each week highlights a different Italian city. “I can’t eat anything while I watch,” he said. “I pace back and forth.”

Musumeci was born in Rome and was just 6 when he started with Roma trading cards. “Love doesn’t cover it,” he said of his lifelong fandom. He moved to the United States when his father was promoted, and he later settled here, establishing a career as an educator.

“Massimo was part of Roma Club New York, and when he moved to Philadelphia he realized that support for Roma was not set up here,” Longo told ASRoma.com. “So he began the club with one of the biggest events we’ve ever had – Roma’s friendly against Inter in Philadelphia in August 2014.”

Longo is a first-generation Italian American. His father moved to Philadelphia in 1973 from Rome, and he summered in Rome while growing up. “I was inspired by many things from these travels, and that molded me into who I am today,” he told ASRoma.com. “The amazing art and architecture of Rome led me to become an architect and designer. The love for the food of Rome led me and my family to open a Roman-style pizza al taglio place.” That’s Alice Pizza in Center City, known for its light dough and crispy crust.

Today, Longo is operations manager for his family’s four restaurants, which also include the caffè, Toscana 52 in Feasterville, Pa., and Ristorante Toscana in Cherry Hill, N.J.

The club is a family affair. Brother Riccardo Longo is a member, and they usually see a Roma match together each year. So are Riccardo’s daughters. Musumeci’s wife, Linda, is segretario e tesoriere.

Fans from across the United States and even around the world have stopped in the caffè for matches, Longo said. Philadelphians who are dedicated home-team fans (and Longo cites his love of the Eagles) can understand how much Roma fans care about their city and their team.

“Roma has some of the most recognizable songs and chants in sports,” Longo said. “It’s probably one of the biggest things about being a Roma fan.”

When José Mourinho started as Roma’s coach in 2021, he moved the fans’ rendition of “Roma Roma Roma” to just before the match starts. “It changes the focus of the game, and it gets the players emotional,” Longo said. “It’s very deep when you hear 70,000 people sing it, and you can hear it outside the stadium.” 

Here goes an English translation (“the romantic nature of the words gets lost a little,” Longo said)

Roma Roma Roma

heart of this city of dreams

proud to be a part and follow

the passion and the excitement

of this football team.

Roma Roma Roma

let me cheer and sing

thousands of voices singing

the joy that you are bringing

and opens off my heart.

Roma Magic Roma

god painted your soul divine

golden like the sun

and red just like this heart of mine.

Roma Roma Roma

born to be so rich

you will never fool me

forever and great you’ll be.

Roma Roma Roma

heart of this city of dreams

proud to be a part and follow

the passion and the excitement

of this football team.

Membership in Roma Club Philadelphia is $40 and includes discounts at Gran Caffè L’Aquila, the Philadelphia Union and other spots in Philadelphia and Rome. The club
can be found on social media. 

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