in the meantime a different way of playing
Holy Crap!...I know this game!
I did not know it had Italian roots (but we did have a lot of Italian kids in my neighborhood).
We played this game at lunchtime many days at Catholic Elementary School in New York State.
I was called "Keep Away" (keep the ball away from the other team).
Thirty or forty kids on each side out in a dirt field behind the school.
Everybody would wolf down their sandwich and milk in three minutes and run out to the field on a full stomach to beat the hell out of each other for the remaining twenty seven minutes of lunchtime.
4th grade against 5th grade, or 8th grade against 7th and 6th together, the kids younger than 4th grade stayed the hell out of the way and played marbles over in one corner of the field.
The field behind the school was supposed to be a grass playing field but it was just dirt, no money to keep it up, the priests spent the church collection money on cars they did not need or on hookers or gifts for their "favorite" altar boys.
The ball we played with was a Lacrosse ball, (so the size of a Baseball) much harder to take out of someone's hands unless you kicked their hand with the hard dress shoes we were required to wear in Catholic school. So their was a soccer element to the game too, with the kicking of hands.
Mostly lots of tackling and punching and wrestling grabbing to get the ball.
Lots of bloody noses, and black eyes, several broken hands, and a broken arm turned up.
People who I tell about this game, don't believe that went on in a school yard day after day.
The nuns would hit us with oak pointer sticks when we got out of line in class, it made perfect sense that we learned to be violent wild ass kids outside of class.
There were two other violent games we played, as well that were not quite as brutal, plus some Lacrosse and Football.
The nuns were in the school paying no attention to what boys were doing out on that field, the priests were across the street in the church or in the rectory teaching some alter boy a lesson he would never forget, or out and about in their cars "taking care of some official church business".
Ahhhhh, to reminisce about the awesomeness of a Catholic School education.