New York City FC supporters Anthony and Lauren Scarcello have made no plans for Valentine’s Day this year.
The native New Yorkers, who now reside in Scarsdale, are playing hooky from work today and seeing where the day takes them because “sometimes unplanned adventures are the most memorable.”
Anthony and Lauren (nee Macri) first met in 2016 and it’s safe to say that NYCFC has played a significant role in their relationship to date.
As the pair prepare for their first full season on the bleachers as husband and wife, we caught up with them to learn more about the role NYCFC and soccer has played in their lives and relationship.
NYCFC: How did you guys first meet?
Anthony: I met my wife on eharmony. Our first date was June 18, 2016. Lucky for me, NYCFC had an early game that day so I was able to schedule for later in the evening after the match. The match was great, I got to see all three big DP’s score, so I was in a great mood. I thought she was beautiful with a great personality and an amazing smile. I’d also like to point out she was over a half-hour late, and we’ve been late anywhere we’ve gone ever since!
NYCFC: Could you tell us a little about the role the team has played in your relationship?
Lauren: NYCFC has been a huge part of our entire relationship. We've been together just about four years and have gone to many games together, have watched many games together, and got engaged at a game! Also, Yankee Stadium is a very special place for us. We shared our first kiss in section 432. It's going to feel bittersweet for me once we get our own stadium, because of all the great memories.
NYCFC: How did you become fans of NYCFC?
Anthony: Two words: Andrea Pirlo. Upon hearing about NYCFC, my cousin and I thought it would be cool to see a game, because we both loved soccer but never really had the opportunity to watch matches live on a regular basis. Once we heard Andrea was coming to play for NYCFC, we bought tickets to what we hoped would be one of his first matches with the club. We fell in love with the club and the atmosphere and were immediately hooked. My dad and I purchased our season tickets shortly after and never looked back. Fast forward since then and I have one of the biggest collections of NYCFC gear/autographs and memorabilia, co-hosted a popular NYCFC podcast for four years (Dudes in Blue), traveled to away matches, an All-Star game, and even got engaged at Yankee Stadium. I'm glad we went that day in August because there has been so many great memories since then.
Lauren: My love for NYCFC comes from my love for Anthony -- he is so extremely passionate and dedicated to the team. We have been blessed with being able to meet so many wonderful and talented players and staff members over the years. We are looking forward to continuing being fans.
NYCFC: Talk to us about the proposal…
Lauren: I had no idea it was coming that day. I am grateful to my friend and co-worker, Jessica, who dragged me to get a manicure earlier in the day. I am also grateful to Chrissy, Anthony's former ticket rep, for ALL SHE DID to help fool me and make our proposal so incredibly amazing and memorable. It happened at half-time. I remember seeing the first half of the game (Anthony does not) and Anthony remembers seeing the second half of the game (and, I do not). I was giddy with excitement and joy and I think they scored three goals in the second half.
Anthony: The proposal was nerve wracking. I knew as far as wedding planning, I would have little to no say in most matters, so I made sure I put some NYCFC flair into our engagement. I wanted to pop the question in a memorable way, so I decided what better place than Yankee Stadium, after all, it is where we shared our first kiss. The game was against Montreal on 7/11/2018. We had made friends with Chrissy, a member of the ticket staff, earlier in the season. She was super nice, and I knew I could get her to help me plan the perfect proposal, and she did, complete with a custom "Marry Me?" NYCFC Jersey.
Step 1. Fool Lauren into somehow staying in her seat at half time: Chrissy and I came up with the idea to tell Lauren that our seat number were pulled for a contest and we needed to be there at halftime.
Step 2: Get ring into stadium: Luckily, because my cousin Joe enters through the media entrance, I was able to have him sneak the ring in. Worked out well, as he kept the ring in his camera bag until I was ready.
Step 3: Pop the question: I was so nervous I don't think I paid attention to the first half. I was working on a speech in my head. It was beautiful and eloquent. Ref blows the whistle at half and I immediately get a surge of anxiety, constantly looking for Chrissy and trying to remember my speech. Chrissy arrived and handed me the “Marry Me” jersey, Joe gave me the ring and I got down on one knee... I couldn't tell you what happened after that. I pretty much blacked out, sobbing with tears in my eyes, and I couldn't get any of my speech out. Thank goodness the jersey said marry me otherwise I think I’d still be there on one knee. She said yes and the cheers from everyone were as if we just scored a goal. After all the photos and well wishes from our section neighbors and the staff, the nerves were gone and I enjoyed watching the second half. The craziest part was NYCFC was so supportive, they posted our proposal video on social media the next day as well as in their Behind the Scenes video recap. Not many people can say that about their proposal, which is pretty cool, that we got to share our moment with so many. It’s also amazing to have it documented with video, so we can always look back on it. It was by far one of the best days of my life. Football, a fiancé, and a win!
NYCFC: What about the wedding…?
Lauren: Normally, before the bride and groom enter the reception for the first time as Mr. and Mrs., the bridesmaids hold up their flowers and form an arch with the groomsmen for the bride and the groom to walk under. In our case, they held up NYCFC scarves! It was an impromptu move, but oh so perfect for us!
Anthony: I knew working an NYCFC theme into the wedding would be difficult, but Lauren was willing to run with some ideas. The men wore navy blue suits with city blue ties. I had NYCFC Cufflinks. I lost the battle for an NYCFC wedding cake…
NYCFC: For the NYCFC Fam, what are some of your favorite dating ideas or spots in the City?
Lauren: This is tough! We love going to visit the tree in Rockefeller Center each Christmas season, we enjoy trying top-rated pizza joints, and we love to shop in Manhattan and walk around exploring. We've gone to Broadway shows, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, have been to MSG for shows and Rangers games.
Anthony: It’s so hard to choose, because there are a million great places and things do, and you never have to visit the same place twice. We enjoy the occasional Broadway play, Billy Joel concerts, and anywhere that serves good pizza. I’ll put emphasis on the good pizza.
NYCFC: What are you most excited for with regards NYCFC in 2020?
Anthony: I'm looking most forward to watching games and attending games together. I look forward to seeing all our friends. I'm looking forward to the team performing as well as last season (a little better this year we hope). Most of all I just look forward to the excitement that every new season brings along. I'm looking forward to seeing what the newcomers have to offer and I'm looking forward to all the moments that make the game beautiful.
Lauren: The excitement of the new team, new coach. And, spending quality time enjoying the sport with Anthony.