The Queen City has become home for FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Roman Celentano. The club announced Friday morning that he will stay at home for another four years, signing a contract extension that will have him in Orange and Blue (or green or black…keeper problems) through 2027.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” Celentano said. “From the upper management of the club to the technical staff, to all the people I work with every day, and then the teammates. It’s unbelievable to come to work every day.
“It’s an honor to wear the FC Cincinnati badge and to play at TQL Stadium.”
Since being drafted second overall in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, Celentano has grown into the club’s starting goalkeeper and record holder in nearly all FC Cincinnati goalkeeping categories. With 15 clean sheets, 159 saves and 4770 minutes played, Celentano will have every chance to increase his franchise records.
“Roman is an extremely talented young goalkeeper who’s been a crucial part of our success the past two seasons,” said Chris Albright, FC Cincinnati general manager, in a statement with the announcement from the club. “He’s a model teammate with a relentless work ethic and elite shot-stopping ability, and we look forward to his continued development under Paul Rogers and our goalkeeping group. We are delighted to keep Roman with the club for many years to come.”
“To be given another opportunity with the club for the next four years, it’s a really great feeling that shows (the club’s) faith in me,” Celentano said. “There’s no place I’d rather be, and it’s a good place to be right now. I’m just so happy to be here.
“With Chris (Albright) and Pat (Noonan) taking over, the foundations they laid last year set the groundwork for the success we’ve had this year. That really gives me faith in my future with the club, knowing that they put players first. They trust their players to go out there and do their jobs. They know how to run a club and they know what they want to do. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
To reach those personal milestones, though, Celentano used goal-setting strategies to keep his dreams in sight. Above his bedroom door, a piece of paper with a goal he was reaching for sat pinned to the wall. The paper wasn’t flashy or special, just a piece of white paper with Celentano’s handwriting.
It started with simple things, ‘Play for FC Cincinnati.’ Soon, just appearing in a match made way for getting a clean sheet, which made way for getting five clean sheets, which made way for the goal he recently accomplished and had been on the paper for all of the 2023 season: 10 clean sheets.
Now, in true goalkeeper fashion, the sheet is clean. No more personal goals sit in the space above his door. The goals that have helped track him to this moment take a backseat to the goals that the team have set for themselves.
“Our focus is solely on trophies,” Celentano says. “All my focus is on helping the team get that done. I just try to show up every day and keep the ball out of the net. And I’ve always felt if I keep doing that, if I keep putting the work in, then everything else will sort itself out.
“Right now I’m just focused on whatever I can do to help Cincinnati win some championships.”