I was jogging through suburban Middle Village near Juniper Valley Park a few weeks ago when I turned a quiet corner onto Juniper Boulevard and encountered a surprising establishment: An Inter Milan supporters’ club banquet hall.
The Middle Village-based club has attracted many famous people associated with Inter since its inception. In 2006, Inter’s former president Massimo Moratti, an oil executive, visited for the club’s 10th anniversary at a restaurant in Great Neck. In 2016, Inter Milan legend and former captain Javier Zanetti attended the club’s 20th anniversary dinner.
The surprise encounter with Inter Milan reminded me of the last time I unexpectedly ran into the club in the summer of 2009. I was working in Cambridge, MA at the time and driving along North Harvard Street in Allston back to my Boston apartment when police stopped my car right outside Harvard Stadium.
Officers also blocked traffic heading in the other direction so that a bunch of guys in golf carts could cross the street from Harvard Stadium to Ohiri Field, the Harvard soccer field.
It was the entire Inter Milan team preparing to practice during their offseason tour of the U.S.
Zanetti, Mario Balotelli, Diego Milito, Julio Cesar, Lucio, Maicon, Patrick Viera and probably Jose Mourinho all passed right in front of me, though I didn’t recognize any of them at the time. A couple days later, Inter beat AC Milan 2-0 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
The following season, they won the Champions League.