For a half of century Giovanni Stillitano has been the forerunner in the promotion of soccer in New Jersey. He founded the Italian-American Soccer League nearly 40 years ago, and the league is still in existence today.
Giovanni Stillitano was born in the town of Gioia Tauro, Italy on Jan. 5, 1920. While in Italy, Giovanni was a teacher of mathematics and also held the post of treasurer in Gioia Taura.
During World War II, Giovanni served as a catalyst of the Partisan Party which combated Mussolini and Hitler’s doctoral forces.
Giovanni Stillitano began his soccer career in Italy at the age of six. He played on the Gioies Soccer Team in the Cabrosicio Champinship, winning the Regional tournament twice. He also played on the Locrese Soccer Team.
He was them selected to play for the Calabria Regional Team, but his career came to a screeching halt with the onset of World War II.
Upon his return from the war, Giovanni played in inter regional championships for several years, and later became president of the Gioies Soccer Team.
In 1952, Giovanni Stillitano emigrated to the United States where he worked as a supervisor in the Burry Biscuits Company, a division of Quaker Oats for over 20 years.
While in this country, his great passion for the sport of soccer continued and he founded, along with several other, the Italian-America Soccer League in 1959.
He also orchestrated, together with President Antonio Doria, many international games in the U.S., such as Juventus vs Barcelona in 1968 at Yankee Stadium, and Bologna vs Celtic in 1966 at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City.
Giovanni also served in the New Jersey State Soccer Federation in the capacity of Registrar, and was a member of the Arbitration Board.
Giovanni Stillitano still has the drive and the perpetual love of soccer which enables him to maintain a vital role in his beloved Italian-American Soccer League of New Jersey, a continually thriving entity of 33 member teams.