Thirteen-year-old football player is one of of the four in NY to play for Dream All-American Bowl in Dallas


At only 13 years old, Orangeburg resident, Joseph Russo is an outstanding football player who was just asked to play for the Dream All-American Bowl on June 12 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Standing at 6’3 tall, Russo has played for the Bergen All-Stars team since he discovered his love for the sport at the age of nine years old after watching an NFL lineup on tv.

“It was honestly a surprise to me at first.” said Russo. Although he did not personally see it coming, his family members did for sure. 

“When I see my Facebook memories pop up, he was already taller than me,” said Russo’s relative, Justin Candullo. Russo and Candullo currently work as a dynamic duo when it comes to training  – Russo puts in the work, and Candullo guides the teen on proper technique, maximizing the young athletes efforts. “Strong core, strong legs, it’s like building a foundation to a house,” explained Candullo.  

Russo is currently extensively training at the Powerhouse Gym in Nanuet to prepare for the Dream All-American Bowl. , “With the size that he has on him now, it’s truly remarkable because he can pretty much go as far as he wants if he continues to do the training he’s doing,” said Candullo. The would be trainer also explained the importance of Russo conditioning while preparing to play for the big game in June. 

Russo noted coach Carrion as one of the major influences of his football career. Carrion pushed the team as a whole and helped mend Russo’s personality as a player. “He’s a friend now. I talk to him daily and he really helps motivate me.”

Eager to succeed, Russo has also opened new doors for opportunity after he recently got in touch with former St. Joe’s, Rutgers, and NFL Detroit Lions player, Kevin Wilkins. Wilkins will be training Joe starting this week, teaching the teen the offense and defense moves he will need to compete in the upcoming game.

Russo’s father, Mike, is very supportive and proud of his son’s athletic endeavors. He shared a few amusing anecdotes from his son’s career with the RC Times including the occasion when Russo was deemed too large to play for the first team he joined, the Orangetown Patriots.  “That’s when we found the Bergen All-Stars.” He also recollected his son was once ID’d before being allowed on the field to ensure that his son Joe was really as young as he claimed to be. Mr. Russo was thrilled to share that ten colleges are already scooping out his son.  

.Russo will be attending Junior Night at Fordham University where he will have a chance to network with other schools. After his future journey with St. Joe’s, Russo has high hopes of committing to Ohio State, where he wants to also get invested in their wrestling program and to study plant medicine.  

As of this past winter, Russo just finished up the season with The North Jersey State team. Currently, his future plans include going into Saint Joseph’s Regional in fall. When Russo was ten years old, Head Coach from St. Joseph Regional, Dan Marangi said, “I’m going to see you in three years.” Russo ended up selecting St. Joseph Regional out of six schools because he believed it was the right fit for him both academically and athletically. 

Russo wears the number 74 for himself, also in honor of his mother’s birth year, who gracefully beat stage 4 Breast Cancer.  He is honored to be able to spread the word about the disease and his mothers miraculous turn around. 

Russo is one out of the four young boys picked out of New York to play the Dream Bowl. 

To learn more about the Dream Bowl, you can visit:

Photo: Jess Warren
Photo of Joseph Russo (left) and Emanuel Laracuente (right) from St. Joseph Regional
Photo: Jess Warren
Joseph Russo (middle), his father Mike (left) and relative Justin Candullo (right)

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