Pizza and soccer go well together, especially in Rochester, N.Y.

In the November issue of Pizza Today magazine, Rochester Lancers owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo was recognized as one of the top pizza operators in the United States.

Salvatore’s Pizzeria was listed as No. 80 in the country’s top 100.

The business has been around for a while and has become a Rochester institution. Salvatore’s started as a high school project in 1978 with one location. Today, there are 29 full menu locations and several outlets with annual sales of more than $35 million.

“I’ve been fortunate to have amazing customers, owner operators, staff members, office family, marketing and supply partners with a special wife that sacrificed a lot for us to grow this brand,” Fantauzzo said. “Now, several young owners can operate a successful business with a normal family life.”

Fantauzzo was proud the business has not veered off course.

“We haven’t changed our recipes or portion sizes since 1978,” he said. “We use the finest and freshest ingredients, healthy air-deck ovens for our old school real pizza and fresh baked Italian sub bread. All our locations are spotless clean, and owner operated with in-house certified drivers. That gives us the edge and why we continue to be in the top 100.”

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Salvatore Fantauzzo: “I’ve been fortunate to have amazing customers, owner operators, staff members, office family, marketing and supply partners with a special wife that sacrificed a lot for us to grow this brand.” (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)

Fantauzzo has been a backer of soccer for years, at all levels. He rebooted the Lancers as an indoor soccer team in 2011.

“Since 1978 my wife and I have operated soccer leagues and teams,” he said. “We have been aggressive sponsors of local pro, amateur and youth soccer in our area. The Rochester soccer community recognizes our support and in return has supported our brand for years.

“I’m extremely grateful.”

The Lancers, who have returned to the Major Arena Soccer League this year, are scheduled to open their season next week at the MetroStars of Canada. They play on Friday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 24.

Their home-opening weekend is Thanksgiving Weekend. They host Utica City FC on Friday, Nov. 29 and the Harrisburg Heat on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.