Matteo Ritaccio is an American midfielder — born and raised on the outskirts of New York City — quickly making a name for himself just weeks after joining the Liverpool youth academy.
Ritaccio joined the Premier League giants this summer after reportedly making numerous trips across the Atlantic over a number of years to train with and play for the Reds’ academy teams. The 16-year-old has appeared in each of the U-18 side’s league fixtures since the start of the season, and has drawn positive reviews from U-18 coach Barry Lewtas — quotes from ESPN FC:
“The only difference is that he’s got a different accent to everybody else. Boys move around and stuff like that, but I don’t think it’s anything to sweep under the carpet. At the age of 16 to move countries, live with house parents and leave your friends and family behind — it’s tough. It’s not easy, is it? He’s settled in great.
“We’ve got a really good support network here, so it’s not something we’ve never done before.”
“He’s settled in fine. Obviously it’s a big change for him culturally. But he’s done ever so well and he’s settled in fine. He mixes in really well and he’s a good boy.
“He was one of the younger ones [against Man United]. He’s brave, [that’s] his personality. Hopefully he can develop further.”
Ritaccio and 18-year-old U.S. men’s national team starlet Tim Weah are each products of the same New York City youth academy, BW Gottschee.