By Guadalupe Barriga
The East Los Angeles men’s soccer team acquired five international students from Brazil, Colombia and Argentina for the 2015 season.
The five players are Federico Mundo, Lucas Mota Silveira, Alvaro Torres, Iago Alves and Jordan Elias.
They received the help of Exchange Company to continue their education in the United States. The company gave them the opportunity to obtain a student visa for four years, which gives them the right to stay in the US as long as they go to school.
The players’ dream to study in Los Angeles started at home. They played in different local soccer tournaments such as in barrios where they were chosen from.
Exchange Company only gives few players the scholarships and Mundo, Silveria, Torres, Alves and Elias were the chosen ones.
Mundo is 26 years and originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He decided to take the scholarship to study in East Los Angeles College to continue his education. Although soccer is a big part of his life and it has given him the opportunity to study in Los Angeles, Mundo hopes to reach his goal and become an actor.
Mundo moved to Los Angeles during the summer. “I was happy and excited.” Mundo said. Mundo is currently taking an English class to improve is English and he is also taking a theater class.
As a future goal Mundo wants to transfer to a theater school and obtain his US residency. Silveria came to Los Angeles right after he graduated from High School.
Silveria is 18 years old and was born in Bahia, Brazil. He plays as a midfielder in the soccer team.
Silveria feels proud to be part of ELAC’s soccer team and lucky to have the opportunity to pursue his dreams. He felt happy when he was told he was selected by Exchange Company. “I’ve always wanted to live here, it has been my dream.” Silveria said.
The team has given him support and he feels comfortable with them. Since Portuguese being his first language, he finds it difficult to communicate with others. However, his teammates help with him with English and it has given him confidence to speak.
Brazilian professional soccer player Neymar has been his inspiration. Silveria’s lifetime goal is to become a professional player. He says it’s an amazing feeling to play soccer at a college level.
Torres found his passion for soccer in Colombia. Although he had the opportunity to play in Las Vegas, Torres decided to continue his dream in East Los Angeles College.
Torres has traveled to different states in the United States but found his opportunity to become a professional soccer player at ELAC.
At the age of 18 Torres realize his hometown wasn’t going to give him the opportunity to demonstrate his skills. “In Colombia you either play soccer or study or they expect high levels.” Torres said.
Torres feels lucky to be able to play soccer and study at the same time. He’s happy to be part of ELAC’s soccer team and will continue to work hard to play in a professional team like Barcelona.
Alves, born in Bahia, Brazil, was also chosen by Exchange Company. He is 21 years old and arrived to Los Angeles in August.
Alves didn’t want to lose the opportunity to play for ELAC’s soccer team or study in Los Angeles. He feels happy and with freedom to be here. Unlike his teammates he wants to go back to Brazil and work in business.
As for now he is training and wants to take the team to finals and be the best soccer college team.
Elias is a journalism major with a passion for soccer too. He plays defender in the team and has given the team the win in the past games. Elias dreams to transfer to a four year college and continue his education in journalism. He believes he has been lucky to study outside of Argentina and will keep working hard to pursuit his dreams.
All five players are currently living together which hasn’t been easy but they have managed to get along.
Coach Ricardo Raygoza describes the players as great kids. “They have a good vision in what they want to do.” Raygoza said.
He works with them every day at school and is in charge of taking care of them in the field and outside the field. Raygoza knows all five will pursue their dreams and will adapt to the lifestyle in Los Angeles.
Raygoza describes Mundo as the funny kid that brings the smile to the team. Elias is a strong man who fights for everything and shows it in the field. Torres is a talented young kid that has adapted faster to the team. Silveria and Alves have been the quietest ones and founded harder to adapt. They have struggled because of the language, but both are working hard to be in the team.
“I thought it was a blessing to have something different this year.” Raygoza said.