Lawrence native Alfred M. Zappala was named General Manager today of the Elephants Catania American football team in Catania, Sicily bringing decades of experience to one of the most storied franchises in the Italian Football Federation (IFL).
The Elephants play in the Second Division of the IFL and he was brought in to help re-organize the team into a Division One contender.
“I live in Sicily nine months of the year now practicing international law, and was invited to attend several practices for the season that just concluded” he said. “They contacted me a few weeks after the season concluded and asked if I would be interested in the GM job in order to strengthen the team in their quest to someday move back into the First Division, and I jumped at the opportunity.” said Zappala.
The Elephants played for the Italian Super Bowl Championship in 2014 in the top division, but voluntarily dropped to the second division to re-organize organizationally and financially in 2015.
“My job is to help build the team back up to the best in Italy” he said.” I am putting together a Board ofAdvisors in the US that can help us on the football end, the media end and the sponsorship end” Zappala said. “I am delighted to be part of this great organization” he said.
The Elephants are getting an experienced football man with decades of experience in return,
Zappala cut his teeth playing football for the legendary Hall of Fame coach Larry Klimas at Austin Prep, and continued at Bastion College before injury cut his career short.
“Not only did I play for Larry, but he taught me how to coach after I graduated college. I coached at Methuen High School for several years” he said.
He was the owner of the highly successful and well known Merrimack Valley Outlaws of the AAA level semi-pro Eastern Football League and he led them to appearances in the National Play-offs for three years.
Zappala has practiced and taught law for many years. He currently resides in Sicily most of the year where he practices law on matters concerning Italy and Sicily. He is considered an expert on the bar examination and has lectured for decades on the subject. He has authored four popular books on Sicily and is the co-creator and co-executive producer of a television series on Sicily “You, Me and Sicily” which highlights the “points of light” in the island paradise. He also is chairman of the Sicilian Project, a non-profit that teaches children how to speak English.
He was a founding trustee of the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover, Massachusetts, and taught law for many years at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston.
He has three children and four grandchildren. He considers this to be his single greatest accomplishment in life.
In 2009, the Italian Trade Commission awarded him the Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to Sicily.
“My grandfather Gaetano Torrisi, who came to the states in 1908 with twelve dollars in his pocket, taught us “Do good and forget it, do bad, and regret it” he said. “All I am doing is continuing what our family does, except I am doing it in Sicily”