In most countries, soccer is not called soccer. In fact, it is mostly known as ‘football’ around the world. Many of the players on the Newman men’s soccer team are from countries where they’ve grown up knowing the sport as football. Ten countries in total are represented on the team: Scotland, England, Spain, Brazil, Quebec, Germany, Sweden, Haiti, Nigeria, and the United States.
Not only is the name of the game different, but so are many of the aspects of the sport in the United States. Players Bernardo Vilas Boas and Jonatas Esgolmin, who are both from Brazil, agreed that the aspects and play of the sport are different here.
Esgolmin said, “The speed of the game here is faster. The majority of American players are usually less technical.”
Boas stated, “The culture of soccer is something that is also very different. In Brazil, soccer is the number one sport by far. Everyone has played it, and everyone has some knowledge over it. Coming here, I have already noticed the growth the sport has experienced over the last few years, but you still see sports that are bigger than soccer, such as football or basketball.”
Men’s Soccer Coach Cliff Brown said in an interview, “We’ve been very fortunate with our recruiting this year—some good freshmen, some good transfers. It’s probably one of the most talented recruiting classes we’ve had in a long time.” Both Boas and Esgolmin echoed Brown’s statement.
Both players talked about the team chemistry, which has made teammates into stronger friends on and off the field. “Since many of us come from different countries, we end up being each other’s family, for the good and for the bad times” Boas said.
Staying in sports is the objective for most players on the team. Both players are seeking a future in the sport. Boas is planning to work in sports administration and professional clubs. Esgolmin’s goal ever since he was young is to become a professional United States soccer player.
Another player on the team, Ed Jabbari from Reading, England, said the team’s immediate plans for the future are winning the Heartland Conference title and moving on to the nationals.
Bringing together players from every hemisphere where some grew up with the sport as soccer and others as ‘football’, and who all have diverse skills and preconditioned approaches to the game, is no easy task. Brown explained his approach to the game and coaching his team is that it’s “a tough game like any sport. You can be playing your best and lose, or you can be playing poorly and win. Success is that we play to the best of our abilities and learn to ride through the hard times.”