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Roma's Love for the Game Shines Through at Open Cup

CHICAGO (July 18, 2006) - Former MLS player Dominic Schell ended his professional career in order to raise his family, something that he could not do when trying to make a living solely relying on soccer. As the captain of Roma FC, a small club from the Dallas area, Schell has continued to compete with several other former professional players for, as he calls it, “the love of the game.”

Roma FC has grown a lot since the team roots were planted in 2000. Schell is a good example of the lifelong soccer player who refused to give up the game he loves. He shares his love with a close group of friends and now teammates.

“A core group of 5-6 guys started this team together in 2000,” said Schell. “For me, I would play with Roma during my off-season from professional soccer.”

Roma FC’s season has certainly been a great success and the players attribute the team’s success to the competitive edge and positive mental aspects that come from playing soccer everyday.

"Our team is full of guys who enjoy playing soccer and continue to play due to the full love of the game."

Roma FC has come along ways in recent years.

Schell explains, “We have added some more depth players in the past two years who want to take each season more serious.”

One of the players recently added to the Roma roster is 38 year old Todd Paulette. Being the oldest player on the roster, Paulette adds to the unique team dynamic of Roma FC.

“We have a good mix of young and experienced players,” explained Paulette, who often finds himself learning a thing or two from the younger players on team. “The culture is made up of guys who truly just love the game, and obviously we would not be playing unless we enjoyed playing the game.”

Roma FC’s depth has certainly shown during their Cinderella run through the 2006 U.S. Open Cup. They knocked off the Laredo Heat SC (PDL) on the road in the First Round and then returned to Dallas to upset Brazilian stars Romario and Zinho of Miami FC (USL-1). With all of the accomplishments throughout the Open Cup, Roma FC has seen a slight increase in pressure.

“Pressure is increasing because now you have a component of community expectations, but at the same time, people are not expecting a definite win,” explained Paulette.

The bar continues to be set higher and higher for Roma FC as each obstacle is overcome. The amateur side expressed that internal expectations have remained constant throughout the past month.

“We expect to go out and extract every ounce of potential from one another. None of our players will go out on the field and expect to lose.”

Following their First Round match where temperatures rose over 100 degrees and play lasted over 120 minutes, Roma knew that their fitness needed improvement in order to compete with USL and MLS teams. Due to conflicts with full-time work schedules, Roma FC trains at 7:00 a.m. up to four days a week in order for players to arrive on-time to their jobs around 9:00 a.m. Practices started at the beginning of the season with only a few players attending but recently have grown into a more serious training environment with over 20 players.

Schell and his teammates certainly have their work cut out for them with their Fourth Round match against the defending Open Cup Champions, LA Galaxy, on the horizon. Roma FC’s love for the game has helped propel them into the Fourth Round where their training efforts coupled with their positive psychological stance will determine what lies ahead for their 2006 Open Cup campaign.

“We feel that we can do this, or else there would be no point in playing in this tournament,” explained Schell.