'I've enjoyed every moment' - USMNT's Gianluca Busio on 'ups and downs' at Venezia and Olympic dreams

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Busio Venezia 2022
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Gianluca Busio says he is learning from the "ups and downs" he's experienced at Venezia as the midfielder set his sights on the upcoming Olympics.
  • Busio on life at Venezia
  • Midfielder setting sights on Olympics
  • USMNT to face St. Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday

WHAT HAPPENED? Busio moved to Venezia in August 2021, with the club breaking its own transfer record to sign the midfielder from Sporting KC. However, the club would be relegated to Serie B after that season before finishing eighth in the second division last season.

Busio was in and out of the lineup last season, but did make 28 total appearances. However, the drop to Serie B, and his loss of form, led to him making just one U.S. men's national team appearance in 2022 after featuring eight times in 2021.

Now back with the USMNT for the Gold Cup, Busio is looking to build on what he's learned in Italy as the 21-year-old midfielder looks to return to the national team picture this cycle.

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WHAT THEY SAID: "It's been up and down, obviously," Busio said. "We didn't start as well as we liked, not the best start but, in the end, we fought back and we made the playoffs and and that was our goal from the start. It was a good season, a tough season, and I think we learned a lot.

"For me, things are going well. I wasn't playing as much at the end there, but that's how it is. It's not always going to be easy to get minutes, so, for me, I've enjoyed it. I love living there and the team is getting better and you can tell we're all growing as a group and I've enjoyed every moment, even the tough parts like the start of this season.

"I'm looking forward to going back and trying to get back to the Serie A eventually. That's our goal and that's what we've been fighting for ever since we got relegated. It has its ups and downs. This season, the last season, really showed however you start, you have to finish better and that's what we did in the end. We can build off that and hopefully move forward."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Busio was left on the bench for the USMNT's first Gold Cup match, a 1-1 draw with Jamaica, but the ex-Sporting KC star is expected to get a chance to shine in at least one of the final two group stage games. Busio is also age-eligible for the 2024 Olympics, with the 21-year-old midfielder certainly among the contenders to be in the USMNT squad in Paris next summer.

"It's been a goal of mine since I watched the Olympics, really," he said. "I think it's a dream of a lot of players and the fact that I'm age eligible to play in it is even more motivation for me to try to make that team.

"I think we have a lot of good young players who are eligible, so I know it's going be tough and I know I have to prove myself to make that roster but I set that goal out for myself as soon as I heard about that. I have something that I'm playing towards and it gives me extra motivation and I'm focused on the Gold Cup now, but I know that a good Gold Cup can help me push myself one step closer to the Olympic roster. That's what I'm fighting for."

IN TWO PHOTOS:

Busio Dimarco Venezia Inter

Busio USMNT 2021

WHAT NEXT FOR THE USMNT? The U.S. are set to face St. Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday in their second group stage match of the Gold Cup.

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