Parma Panthers safety Simone Alinovi: “We are exactly where I believe we belong, on top.”

Parma Panthers safety and receiver Simone Alinovi may be unassuming at first glance but the 5’11″, 182 pound Panther has shown in consecutive weeks he can compete with the best of them.

The 23 year-old began his football journey at the age of 14 after years of soccer in his hometown of Parma in the north of Italy. Alinovi passed through the U14 and U19 Parma teams before making his debut for the first division Panthers five years ago, as well as multiple appearances for the Italian national team.

Since the beginning I felt how special this team was and I completely fell in love with it. My first year of youth team I was mainly a defensive back, but when I went to the first team I was moved as a slot receiver, where I had my biggest successes.

Parma faced off against reigning champions Milano Seamen in week one serving them a close defeat – a game in which Alinovi racked up 1 pick, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass-breakup and a touchdown. 

We were pretty confident against the Seamen, they are our rivals so it’s easy for us to get pumped against them, but it’s never easy to win against them. We were in control of the game but we didn’t have the lead until there was 30 seconds to go, we have to get better on that. We played very good defense in the second half and that was the turning point for us, because we could come back as we did. The games against seamen are always the hardest ones and the ones that I feel the most about because I know they are the best team in Italy and the best competition for us.

The following week they were to go up against a strong Milano Rhinos team. This was to be the test the rest of the league was waiting for, to see if the hype was real. The contest ended up being a high-scoring affair with the Panthers coming out on top 42 – 32.

Last game was hard for me personally because I gave up two touchdowns on defense against their American receiver, but I also scored twice on offense so I feel like I’m even. They are a very young team and they can cause big problems next year. We probably underestimated them a little bit and we got punched in the mouth for that, but at the end we got the W.

Alinovi is joined by Central Washington QB Reilly Hennessey and former Western Michigan and NFL linebacker Asantay Brown. But as anyone in European football will tell you, imports don’t make a team. Unless the foundations of domestic talent are strong success will remain fleeting. 

In just two games Alinovi already has an impressive stat line with over 200 yards receiving, 3 TDs, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception showing that he has been an integral part of Parma’s success.

We are exactly where I believe we belong, on top. We worked very hard to be in this spot, and we know that every team in Italy wants to beat us bad, so we have to focus every week to be 1-0, every Monday.

Next up for the Panthers will be Firenze Guelfi Sunday, April 25 on AFI tv. 


Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.