Skip to Content


Nicholas Gioacchini: The Interview

Nicholas ‘Niko’ Gioacchini, a 23-year-old dynamic centre forward with dual American and Italian citizenship, arrived in Como during the January transfer window. Nicholas is a product of Paris FC’s youth academy system.

Born in Kansas City, Niko moved to Parma, Italy, as a child with his family. Niko’s ascent in European football saw him amass 88 appearances, 12 goals, and four assists during his time with French club SM Caen (Ligue 2).

Niko also played for Montpellier HSC (Ligue 1) before moving to the USA with MLS teams Orlando City and then St. Louis City.

Niko has appeared on the international stage for the U.S. Men’s National Team, making his senior debut against Wales, and has since registered eight caps, scoring three goals and providing two assists for the U.S., including five appearances, one goal and an assist in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2021 Gold Cup championship win.

Where it all begins

Nicholas says that when he first saw a ball, “instead of catching it with my hands, I kicked it.” His first experience with a football team began in 2006: “I started playing with a local team in Overland Park, Kansas, where I played for two years before moving with my family to Parma, Italy.”

American soccer

After memorable football experiences in Europe, Niko returned to the USA where, in the meantime, football has grown: “I have seen an incredible evolution. Compared to when I was a kid, many people now go to the States from other countries to play and coach. Soccer in the United States is not just American. It has become international. And I see a growing passion among those who follow it.” Nicholas has also played for the U.S. national team: “I am proud of it,” he says. Given the 2026 World Cup, he says: “If the coach wants to call me, I am ready.”

His cousin as a coach

Despite having an Italian father, no one pushed Nicholas to play football. It was something that happened naturally. His cousin Warren played an important role: “I was still a kid. He realised I liked football and coached me a bit in kicking goals.” His football idols include Alexandre Pato, Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimović, and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

The Italian grit

To Nicholas, a distinctive peculiarity of Italy is grit: “I learned this word as a child when I was in Italy. Compared to the United States, I immediately noticed a big difference. In Italy, I saw a desire to win, to fight a lot, and to do anything to score. It was grit or ‘grinta’ that, at the time, I understood, more than any other characteristics, about Italian football.”

Teammates and the new city

To Niko, Como means a new start in Italy: “Some people were close to me during these months and helped me to settle in. The city is beautiful, and the people are very kind.” Nicholas says he bonded a lot with his English-speaking and French-speaking teammates: “We have many groups within the team, but everyone feels at home. It is family.”

The “risotto with ossobuco”

Brunate is among his favourite places around Como: “I have been there twice, once with my family and once alone. Of Como, I like the view of the lake, especially at sunset.” To the question about his preferred dish – to enjoy at Terzo Crotto restaurant in Cernobbio, his favourite one – Niko replies as a true local: “Milanese risotto with ossobuco.” Not pizza or pasta, then, but a traditional dish: “It is good to taste traditional dishes. Every tourist should try them.”

Cars and rap

Outside of football, Nicholas likes cars, especially Gran Turismo, which he watches many videos of and sometimes plays with on the Playstation: “It is a dangerous passion because cars are expensive” (laughs). Before matches, he always listens to music: “It puts me in the right mood. I listen to American and French rap, like Travis Scott and Meek Mill. It is a beat that gives me energy.”

Do everything to fulfil your dreams

Nicholas’ advice to young people who want to follow in his footsteps: “Do everything to achieve your dreams,” as young Niko did, following his passion for football. Looking back, he would say to a younger Nicholas: “Have more fun.” Fun “is not going to the disco. It is having fun in what you do. In five, 10, 20 years or more from now, I will look back at what I did. I will not be able to change the past. Therefore, I think it is fundamental to live in the present while having fun in what you do.”

Mum Joan

His mum, Joan, plays a crucial role in his life: “My mum and I are very close. She is one of the most important people in my life, and she has done everything for me. If I am the man I have become today, I owe a lot to her. She guides me in the right direction in all aspects of life. She taught me to be a man of my word, respectful, and just. Thinking about my behaviour, I believe I follow her teachings well enough. I want to thank her for the man I am today.”