While there is a Kanye West lyric out there about the Midwest being young and restless, folks from the area are typically polite, hardworking, and enjoy friendly conversation. As a Midwest native myself (Stow, Ohio, what up!), there’s almost a sixth sense when it comes to recognizing another Midwest native, no matter where you are in the world. After watching him play and do interviews, I was not surprised at all to find out that Saint Louis FC forward Russell Cicerone was a fellow Midwest man.
A native of Michigan, he played his college soccer in the Mid American Conference for the University of Buffalo and was drafted by Portland Timbers. He played in nearly 30 matches for USL side Portland Timbers 2 in 2017. After not getting much of a chance to showcase his skills with FC Cincinnati last year, Cicerone has found a true soccer home in the Show-Me State. He said, “I love the city and the people! There’s always stuff to do and I do feel like I’m at home here. Great Midwest vibes!” Yes, to those wondering, he has enjoyed some of the highly-regarded barbeque the area has to offer. Cicerone pinpointed Salt + Smoke as his favorite place so far and said he has probably been there ten times already and that it’s his go-to place to go when someone visits him. Based on the picture below from the restaurant’s Instagram, I can imagine why he’s taken a liking to it.
It’s not just the brisket that’s cooking up nicely in The Lou. Cicerone is proving to be a great offseason addition for Saint Louis FC. In 13 appearances in all competitions, he has four goals and two assists, including a helper in the upset US Open Cup win over Chicago Fire of MLS. While he’s obviously enjoying the personal production, Cicerone gave a lot of credit elsewhere. “It’s very nice to be producing goals and assists, but my team plays such a huge part in that. Our group has great chemistry and we are always working for each other,” he explained. “I feel very confident playing for Anthony and with this group and it allows me to be productive on the pitch.”
— Saint Louis FC (@SaintLouisFC) June 12, 2019
In addition to being still alive in the USOC, STLFC sits above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, despite only winning one league match in their last six. “Yeah, we have gone on a stretch of tying a few games, but we did pick up points on the road which is difficult to do in this league. To get back to winning ways, we need to keep playing strong defensively as we have been, but we need to produce a little bit more going forward,” Cicerone said.
Speaking of winning ways, Cicerone got to watch his favorite European club hoist the Champions League trophy on June 1st. “Seeing Liverpool win the Champions League was amazing especially after coming so close last year and the heartbreak of not winning the Prem (English Premier League),” he reflected. “However, my neighbors probably weren’t too happy when it happened because of the noise coming from my apartment. He added that his favorite current player is Andy Robertson because of his work rate and what he brings to the attack as an outside back. Xabi Alonso takes the crown for his favorite former Liverpool man.
In addition to being able to identify fellow Midwest natives, as a people, we always root for one of our own to succeed. For me, it’s great to see Russell Cicerone getting a chance to showcase his skills and prove his worth. Hopefully, the year will continue to get better as the USL Championship season and the US Open Cup progress.