Bend it Like the Brazilians

Known across campus as “Brazilian Talent,” this intramural soccer team is expected to be big time.

While this team is made up of mostly Brazilian players, it is more diverse than that.

Also represented on the team is NDSU senior Erika Carrillo (who has an Ecuadorian father and Colombian mother) and grew up in Ecuador.

“I’m playing with my fellow Brazilian friends; we are representing South America,” Carrillo said.

Along with players from South America is one American teammate with a Vietnamese background.

Eight out of the 10 members on the team are at North Dakota State as a part of an exchange program called the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program.

Team captain Pedro Mayerle Queiroz explained that, while this group wasn’t specifically planning on coming to North Dakota, they are grateful for the opportunities provided here.

“I can assure you that any of our universities in Brazil have half of the infrastructure and support that NDSU is providing us,” Queiroz said. “We are having the time of our lives here; we are only scared about the winter.”

While soccer is obviously a big deal to the team, soccer isn’t always their main focus.

Queiroz said along with the population of around 80 international students at NDSU, they rely on friends they knew prior to the experience for tips.

“Before coming to the United States, we were already talking to friends who were living here, trying to understand a little bit more about the University and life on campus,” Queiroz said.

The small populations of different ethnic groups at NDSU create a bond for these students that bring them together while they remind each other to keep up with paperwork and homework throughout their time here at campus.

“As exchange students, we have to deal with a lot of paperwork, and having someone to remind us about limit dates and help us manage this situation is a blast,” Queiroz said.

The strong bond formed on and off the soccer field provides an example of why sports are so meaningful. Being a part of the same exchange program, the eight Brazilian players knew each other prior to the formation of this team. Standout player Queiroz explained how soccer has helped them to meet new people and create lifelong friendships.

“Making friends throughout soccer is really easy,” he said.

Whether it be making new friends, exploring campus or playing the game they love with teammates, this group of talented student athletes will always have each other to lean on and adjust with — though they do miss a few specific things from home.

Queiroz said Brazilian food is missed.

“We have fresh food in our tables every time. And we don’t have our best chef here: our moms,” Queiroz said.

One last thing that is greatly missed from home is the amount of support they receive here.

“People from our countries (Brazil and Colombia) are more into soccer than the Americans, so our friends would come to the game day and cheer at us even if it is a friendly or an Intramural game. That gave us energy to play even more.”

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