Carlo Villani's Italians vs All-Stars match heating up

AS far as the the Border soccer community goes, names don’t come much bigger than Carlo Villani.

It’s little wonder then that the Italian-born superstar has had people coming out of the woodwork to support this weekend’s Italians vs All-Stars exhibition match.

The game, masterminded by Villani, will raise money to assist the earthquake-struck Italian town of Amatrice.

The 6.2 magnitude quake, which hit Amatrice and surrounding areas in August, claimed the lives of 159 people and all-bar reduced the town to rubble.

Upon hearing of relatives affected by the earthquake and that the town’s school and hospital had been badly damaged, Villani sprung into action.

Several businesses have jumped on board to support the fundraising push, while all proceeds from Saturday's gate and canteen will go directly to the Amatrice fund.

“We've got relatives who live in the area – they are OK, but the school and the hospital are gone,” Villani said.

“I thought to myself, why not try and help them out?

“We though a soccer game would be the perfect way to help raise some money for them, it's the perfect story.

“We spoke to a few friends, they said for sure, we'll help you out.”

Villani, who has coached numerous AWFA representative sides as well as boasting head coaching stints with the Wodonga Diamonds, Wodonga Heart, Albury City, Myrtleford, Albury United and Boomers FC, said he was hoping to turn the October 29 match into an annual charity fixture.

Some of the league's biggest names are set to line up in the friendly.

Myrtleford's Jesse Stephens, Wangaratta's Adam Burchell and Cobram's Bill Puckett have been named in the All-Stars men's team.

Boomers star Maddy Harris and Albury City's Zoe Jackson headline the women's All-Stars.

Matt Maw and Matt Campbell will coach the All-Star men's team, while Steve Kusic and Caron Stiler are in charge of the women's team.

Murray United young gun Connor Caponecchia and Twin City's Josh Zito will star for the Italian Heritage team, coach by Myrtleford's Matt Park and Jayden Vescio.

United's Alicia Torcaso and St Pats star Claire Mahoney spearhead the Italian women's side, coach by Tony Cigana and Ray Diramacca.

We've got relatives who live in the area – they are OK, but the school and the hospital are gone.

Carlo Villani