Filippo Santandrea, '19 MBA

Filippo Santandrea sits at a table in Arrupe

For graduate student Filippo Santandrea, the love of soccer expands far beyond the borders of his country.

Santandrea played for a club team when completing his undergraduate degree in Italy, but was looking to continue playing.

After finishing his degree in Italy, Santandrea heard from a friend who opened up an opportunity to travel and play soccer while also furthering his education.

“I played soccer seven years ago with a guy who’s playing and studying here. He’s Gianluca Bottoni, (senior),” Santandrea said. “He told me about this opportunity after I got my degree in Italy. He told me that if I wanted, I could come here, play soccer, get a scholarship and improve my education with a master’s degree.”

After considering things such as preparing for school and leaving his family, he made the decision to move to the United States.

“There are a lot of things to take into account. I had to take some tests: the GMAT, a test for my English level,” Santandrea said. “I had to decide with my parents. You know, you have to go away from your family, from your friends, from what you’re used to. It’s not easy when you have to do that, and decide to do that, but then it’s good because you open your mind to something different.”

Santandrea found that moving to the United States was a bit easier because of the support system he already had in place.

“I was lucky, because Rockhurst is a pretty nice community. It’s a pretty small school so you know everyone,” Santandrea said. “I have my friend, Gianluca who was already here — he helped me a lot with admission and everything else. Plus, my coach, (Tony) Tocco, not just Tocco, but the assistant coach (Giorgio Antongirolami), too. He’s Italian as well. I had some help from them.”

Santandrea believes soccer is played a bit differently than it is in Italy.

“It’s different, it’s more physical, less technical. I enjoy it a lot,” Santandrea said. “I actually have another semester to play, so I’m excited for the new season.”

After his time here, Santandrea has loose plans for the future.

“I would like to stay here and work with a working visa for at least one year. Then, see what happens.” Santandrea said.