Selmani is Albanian and was born and raised in Kosovo. He grew up playing soccer, the “poor man’s sport,” as he refers to it, because it requires very little equipment. In 1972, after he graduated college, his family moved to the United States. They settled in New York, where Selmani played on semi-professional teams and also coached the Empire State girls and boys teams. Before working at Fordham, he had successfully coached several semi-professional clubs. His experience was impressive.
Selmani began his career at Fordham by assisting the head coach of the men’s soccer team in 1994. The men’s team went up in rank. Selmani began coaching the Rams, the women’s team, in 1996. Due to his leadership, the team has had a long and successful record of wins year after year. In 2007, he had led the team to 5 winning seasons in six years and for the second time he was voted Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year by the women’s soccer divisions. His Fordham peers, voted him University Coach of the Year, also for the second time. A modest man, Selmani refuses to take credit for his team’s accomplishments. Instead he gives the credit to his players. His office is said to have many pictures of his current and past players displayed, too numerous to count. He keeps track of all their birthdays so that he can personally call them to wish them a Happy Birthday.
“When seeking recruits, Selmani says he looks first at a player’s grades and then at her soccer ability. ‘I am a very strict coach,’ he says, ‘but I am trying to build good minds as well as good soccer players.’”
I was quite impressed with what I read about Mr. Selmani. I even found a little audio recording, and if you are interested, you can listen to him speak with his European accent (link below). Now I can completely understand why he said he was disowning Drita for marrying Lee. He must have been totally heartbroken. I can only imagine his embarrassment now, as many of his students and colleagues may be tuning in to Mob Wives and watching his daughter on national television. What must his reaction be, if he has even seen the show, and witnessed what has become of his daughter. I can tell you, if she were my daughter, I would be sick over it. Reading about her father makes me wonder if Drita has any regrets about marrying Lee and going against her decent, moral upbringing. I would think it would be hard to go against everything you have ever known and taught to be right, but Drita makes it look easy.