The life of an international student is a constantly busy one. When they are given the chance to chase their dreams in another country, the expectation is that they will put all their time toward school and make the most of their time abroad. That expectation grows twofold for the international athletes. Along with the typical responsibilities of a student, international athletes must also throw in the obligations that come with being a member of their teams.
The college has a number of players that have come from across the world to play for its teams. The soccer team is a perfect example with seven international students playing for the team in 2016. The players come from a variety of countries, ranging from Italy and Spain to Belize and Paraguay.
Freshman midfielder Rogi Solorzano comes from Belmopan, the capital of Belize in Central America. He noted the National Collegiate Scouting Association when talking about his search for schools in America.
“The NCSA took my game footage and sent it out to all the teams in America. They handled most of the initial contact with coaches,” Solorzano said.
The NCSA handles scouting for thousands of athletes both inside and outside of the United States. Unlike local students, who are usually directly approached by college scouts, international students almost always need to hire their own agents who help establish connections with college coaches and assist with the process of transferring. Freshman forward Francesco Tamilia had his own agent back in Rome, Italy, who handled most of the process for him.
“[The agent] looked for the universities after I sent them my video. They put my video on YouTube and then they sent the video to the universities,” Tamilia said.
A member of the college’s coaching staff took interest in Tamilia’s game footage and contacted the young player’s agent with a scholarship offer.
“He enjoyed my video and they offered me a scholarship. I wanted to play here so I accepted pretty quickly,” Tamilia said.
While there are some unique processes involved with recruiting international athletes, the players have also felt hardships that many normal students would feel while staying in another country.
Tamilia didn’t speak English back in Rome, so learning a language most of the team could understand proved to be a difficult task.
“Learning a new language was the most difficult part of the transition. I’m still learning more every second I’m here,” Tamilia said.
Sophomore defender Lukcas Palmer noted how difficult it was to be away from all of his loved ones on a personal level.
“It’s not the same, you know? Not seeing each other’s faces personally is tough,” Palmer said.
Despite the distance from friends and family members, the benefits their experiences overseas provide greatly outweigh the solemn feelings right now. With a year at the college under their belts, the freshmen can now spend more time focusing on the games they love instead of adjusting to a new environment.