Sept. 21, 2011
Getting involved in the family business made a lot of sense for Tony Salciccia. A junior midfielder with the Cal men's soccer team, Salciccia followed in his father's soccer footsteps at age four. The elder Anthony Salciccia played professionally for several teams including the San Jose Earthquakes and the Milwaukee Wave. Young Tony even wore his dad's jersey number - No. 19 - his first two years with the Golden Bears.
"My dad definitely influenced my soccer career," the San Jose, Calif., product said. "He and my mom were always driving me around and putting me in rec soccer. I always idolized him - seeing his pictures up in the restaurant and looking at photo albums at home and seeing him in his soccer uniform, with all my family watching from the stands. That's something I always wanted to do myself."
That "restaurant" involves the other family business - the Bay Area-based Tony and Alba's Pizza restaurants founded by his grandfather, also named Anthony Salciccia. Anthony III took up the Salciccia tradition of working at Tony and Alba's when he reached the eighth grade.
"As soccer got pretty busy, I didn't work there as much," Tony said. "Both my sisters are still working there with my pop. My little brother, who's going into the eighth grade this year, I assume he's going to start picking up some shifts soon."
As he spent less time dishing out pizza and more time dishing the soccer ball, Salciccia made a name for himself with Prospect High School and the De Anza Force Academy club. He earned kudos in 2007 when he claimed a spot on the NSCAA Youth All-America team, and was a member of the U.S. Under-18 National team in 2008 and '09.
As a freshman at Cal, Salciccia played 18 games and started six, while last fall, he earned starts in all 20 games and scored three goals.
The departure of Servando Carrasco to Major League Soccer has allowed Salciccia to switch his jersey number this year to 10, which generally signifies a team's playmaker or top attacking player. Now entering his junior season, Salciccia will also don the captain's armband.
"Anthony has been a very good player these past two seasons," Cal coach Kevin Grimes said. "This fall, he will be one of our captains due to his leadership ability and respect he has amongst his teammates."
Salciccia has also done well in the classroom as he pursues a degree in social welfare. Last fall, he landed a berth on the Pac-10 All-Academic second team.
"These two years I've grown a lot as a student," he said. "At Cal, you've got a lot of support with the tutors and the advisors. One of the things my advisor often tells me is to stay organized, know what I've got coming up throughout the whole semester; just set yourself up to succeed."
Salciccia would enjoy helping teenagers, perhaps as a high school advisor or coach one day. But he doesn't expect to finish playing anytime soon.
He hopes to follow in his father's footsteps by playing professionally after attending a school that produces many of the nation's top young pros.
"It's definitely a dream of mine," Salciccia said. "Coming to such a great university, the opportunity's there. I just want to keep working hard, and maybe that dream will come true some day."