Mike Vannucci Signs With Firenze Guelfi In Italy

Wide receiver Mike Vanucci has signed with the Firenze Guelfi (Florence Griffins) of the Italian top league for the 2017 season.

Vanucci, 5’9″, 190 lb from Bethpage, New York, finished a four year career at William Paterson University Pioneers (NCAA Div. III) in 2015.

The Guelfi reached the quarterfinals of the Italian Football League in 2016.

American Football International: How did you come to sign with the team in Firenze?

Mike Vanucci: They were one of the first teams that reached out to me. The whole organization is a class act. reached out to me first in January 2016, and we have been in contact since then. I’ve only heard great things about the team, and the people in the program. Not to mention, I’ve done some research, and Florence seems to be an incredible place to live.

AFI: Did you know about American football in Italy or Europe before now?

Vanucci: I learned about Europlayers back in the Winter of 2016, I don’t quite remember how though. Also when I was down in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina for a college all star game, there was a Euroscout there who approached me and gave me some insight about playing professionally overseas.

AFI: What are you looking forward to most about playing in Italy?

Vanucci: I can’t wait to continue my football career, and play with a whole new family. I’m excited to be a part of this team. Being a part of a football team is like being a part of a family, and I’m looking forward to playing alongside my new brothers, and helping our team and program improve from last season and make a run in the playoffs.

AFI: What do you think you can bring to the club in 2017?

Vanucci: I was a 3-time captain, and 2-time voted the teams hardest worker. To be successful in this sport, it’s all about the hours you put in before the actual games; in practice, running routes on air, lifting weights. I hope to help bring a blue collar mentality, and lead by example through work ethic. The rest, such as my physical play, will speak for itself. This is the greatest game in the world and I can’t wait to be a part of this team.

AFI: Tell us a little about your career at William Patterson.

Vanucci: I had the opportunity to play for some incredible coaches. Coach Jerry Flora, the head coach, is a tremendous person and a coach who wants his players to succeed. We had 3 ex-NFL players on our coaching staff – Coach Shaun Williams, who was one of the main reasons I went to William Paterson, and who was our defensive coordinator. It was an honor to hear him speak about the game, and share his knowledge.

Coach Tank Daniels was our special teams coach and coached me as a punt returner and his passion for the game was second to none. Coach Tony Woods, was a blue collar, come to work, and get after it type of coach. Finally, even though he didn’t play in the NFL, coach David Pinto, was one of the best people I’ve ever had the honor to play for. He coached the offensive line. Playing at William Paterson for these coaches gave me the opportunity to play in two all star games. The first was the Aztec Bowl in Mexico City at the Olympic Stadium in front of 40,000 plus fans. I was able to score a touchdown in that game and that was the best experience of my life. The second game was the DIII Senior Classic in South Carolina, where I was able to win MVP and play alongside some of my best friends from William Paterson one last time.

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