Italian shot-stopper Andrea Carpita boasts a European title with club and country
In his career, Andrea Carpita has won almost everything there is to win in beach soccer… except the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
“It’s what I want most,” the Viareggio and Italy goalkeeper admits. He came close to the trophy in the 2019 edition in Paraguay, the only one he has participated in.
In the last edition the Azzurri lost 6-4 to Portugal in the final. “It’s tough, I wanted it so bad. But I will try again. I will even play after I turn 40 to succeed, if necessary,” Carpita jokes.
He has plenty of time. Today, Carpita is just 33 years old, and he can boast impressive achievements on the sand: one Euro Winners Cup, one Italian championship, two Coppa Italia, one Italian Supercup with Viareggio; and with the national team, one Euro Beach Soccer League and the Mediterranean Beach Games.
He was one of the main protagonists in the rise to glory of the beach soccer club from his hometown, Viareggio, first in Italy and then abroad. The club was established in memory of Matteo Valenti, a young man who died in a work accident in 2004.
Carpita converted the decisive penalty kick in the 2016 Euro Winners Cup final against Ukrainian side Artur Music, handing Viareggio the biggest club trophy on the continent. In the same year, the club secured the historic “triplete” as they also won the Scudetto and Coppa Italia.
In 2020, Carpita gained repute off the sand too, in a gesture of goodwill whereby he and his father Giancarlo, who is the Viareggio chairman, joined the Protezione Civile to help people in difficulty during the pandemic. “When it comes to helping those in need, we never back down,” he says. A champion on and off of the pitch…
Is it weird for you having your father as the chairman of your team?
No, I’m used to it now. He fell in love with Viareggio because he saw the players fighting for something more important than a result: keeping the memory of Matteo Valenti alive.
You were so young when you started playing…
I started when I was a kid. In 2005, I participated in the first tournament in memory of Matteo, qualifying for the final.
Then, in 2010, Viareggio was established.
Head coach Stefano Santini asked me and other guys – Simone Marinai, Michele Di Palma, Sacha Di Tullio, Gabriele Gori, Matteo Marrucci and Giacomo Valenti, Matteo’s younger brother – to start training. Then, he founded the club.
Is the 2016 Euro Winners Cup the greatest achievement of your career?
With Viareggio, definitely yes. We were a team of local boys, with the “Japanese wall” Ozu Moreira, able to do something extraordinary as well as hard to repeat. I remember that in the final I grabbed the ball to take the decisive penalty. It was time to complete the challenge. In the end, I was so tired that I didn’t even have the strength to celebrate.
What was so special about it?
The group. It was really a big family. We lived in Catania for a couple of weeks, all together. Everyone did their job: Stefano Santini cooked, Michele Gemignani cut bread, Simone Marinai set the table, Gabriele Gori brought the coffee. The atmosphere was wonderful.
In 2018, you became European champion again, this time with the Italian national team, in Alghero.
I had different feelings. We were strong, but the level of the competition was very high. When I saw so many supporters outside the stadium, I realised that our movement had grown. We managed to involve and excite a whole nation. Winning the Euro Beach Soccer League on our home beach was wonderful.
In 2019, finally, you had the opportunity to participate in your first World Cup. What is your fondest memory?
The way out onto the pitch before the final against Portugal. When I passed by the trophy, I was so close to the dream of winning it at the first attempt.
Did you think you would make it to the final?
We knew we could perform well in that particular FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup edition, because it was played at the end of the season. Unfortunately, we lost to a more experienced and brilliant team. However, that defeat is the worst memory. I can’t forget it. I hope I don’t live to regret it for the rest of my life. I am really looking forward to becoming World champion in the future. I will play for as long as it takes to achieve that!
When did you realize you were a good goalkeeper?
Since I started training with Spada and Del Mestre, the other two goalkeepers of the Italy national team, during these years. I learned a lot from both of them.
Who are the best goalkeepers in your opinion?
Chuzhkov and Andrade, because they are complete: they can play for 36 minutes no problem. Moreover, they are technically gifted and this is a key feature in modern beach soccer.
Pick your best-five in a team.
Chuzhkov, Ozu Moreira, Datinha, Amarelle and Gori.
You’re a goalkeeper accustomed to score goals.
I know I have this skill and I try to exploit it whenever I can.
By Gabriele Noli.