By Jeff Todd

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Few fans in Colorado are more passionate and dedicated that those in the Colorado Rapids supporter group Centennial 38. Now those members are hoping to bring a fan from Italy to join their ranks singing and chanting for the soccer team they love.

(credit: CBS)

“Every football game I watch I just fall in love more and more with them, and I found a fantastic family in the group, I just love everyone,” said Lino De Rosa, the biggest Rapids fan in all of Italy.

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Through Facebook, De Rosa has connected with fans who normally spend their Saturday Nights at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. Now, those diehard fans in Colorado have started a campaign to get De Rosa to game.

Lino De Rosa (credit: CBS)

“Only one week in and we’re already half way in to our goal of $2,000 to get him over and get him lodging and get him to a match or two matches depending on when he can get time off,” said Jared Kaszuba who started the campaign. “Soccer brings people together in the weirdest sort of ways.”

“I’m just amazed by it, I couldn’t imagine someone can do such a thing for a person on the other side of the planet,” De Rosa said.

(credit: CBS)

De Rosa says he was sick of professional soccer in Italy, and he turned the TV on to an MLS game: Colorado versus Philadelphia. De Rosa decided then and there, in 2012, to became a Rapids fan. Now, despite how good the team is, he rarely misses a game. They usually kick off between 2 and 4 in the morning where he lives.

(credit: GoFundMe)

“It’s crazy to me that a guy from Italy would be a fan of this team. Get up at like 2 in the morning to watch them,” said Trevor Curry, who donated to the campaign. “If you’re going to support our club and you’re half way around the world everyone is going to help out and get you as much as you want.”

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Before every Colorado Rapids game, fans sing a rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Thousands of people shouting, “Mountain roads take me home to a place I belong. To Colorado to see the Rapids. Take me home, Country road.”

Now complete strangers are hoping to bring De Rosa “home.”

(credit: CBS)

“When you love a team, you love a team,” Kaszuba said.

It’s likely De Rosa will come to Colorado in early September when the Rapids have two home games five days apart.

“They care for me in a way I couldn’t believe. This is beyond soccer,” De Rosa said. “I’m counting the days right now.”

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Jeff Todd