The Notre Dame College Men’s Soccer Team has added six players from Brazil this spring semester, making the South American country the most prominent nationality on the squad.
In total, there are now 11 Brazilians on the team. All of them, with the exception of junior Renan Troccoli, have arrived in the past eight months.
The reason for the sudden influx in Brazilian players: Academics rather than athletics.
“Within international recruitment, you see trends for applications from countries,” said Carl Nolan, the associate head coach of the men’s team. “In the past few months, the US has become a destination where a lot of Brazilian students are looking to continue their academic studies.”
The opportunity to study in America is desirable for these Brazilian students because it allows them to receive a quality education while continuing to play the sport they love. This is a win-win they do not have in Brazil.
“In Brazil, I had to choose between soccer and a good education,” Daniel Souza, a freshman on the team, said. “I came to NDC so I could enjoy both.”
Another advantage of coming to America is that the Brazilians can hone their English skills. If they can become bilingual and succeed in classes where English is the primary language, it gives them a tremendous advantage when they begin looking for jobs after graduating.
According to Nolan, though, lost in translation is still a work in progress for the students, on and off the field.
“The most obvious obstacle for the Brazilians is the language barrier. This can be difficult to overcome on the field because of the constant changing situations that require soccer terminology to be used spontaneously,” he said. “Though it may take some time, we are certain they will become accustomed to using English after being around their teammates enough.”
Despite the communication difficulties, the Falcons are eager to see what their Brazilian teammates can offer this spring season. Players such as Felipe Silva and Troccoli were integral parts of the Falcons’ success last fall, so they are hoping for more of the same from the newcomers.
“The Brazilians have brought a different style of play and also a different approach to the game. I am excited to see how these qualities will enhance the team,” Nolan said.
The Falcons’ schedule for the spring season features some of the toughest competition in the state, including matches against Bowling Green State University and the University of Akron.
The Falcons’ also play once at home this spring against Lake Erie College and Case Western Reserve University in back-to-back matches. The first of these two matches will kick off on April 19, at noon.