By Stephanie Guevara
After giving up his dream of becoming a professional soccer player, Vitor Freitas, discovered new interests and opportunities in the United States which stem from his love of the sport.
Freitas was born in the small rural town of Capivari in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began playing soccer when he was five years old on a team in his hometown. Since then, he aspired to become a professional. However, Freitas gave up that dream when he turned 18, because he believed his time had passed.
“I tried to play professionally, but in Brazil it’s difficult because there are a lot of good players and you need to have a good manager. You also need to have money, but you have to be a really good player” Freitas said.
Although he had given up his dream of becoming a professional soccer player, Freitas continued playing soccer for fun because he still had a passion for it.
He started seeking alternatives to succeed through soccer. Freitas learned about the student-athlete program that Bruza Sports offered foreign soccer players.
Bruza Sports is a specialized U.S. university and college sports scholarship recruitment agency.
Many athletes from the men’s soccer team have came to East Los Angeles College through Bruza.
Freitas soccer skills were able to capture ELAC men’s soccer head coach Eddie Flores’ attention and bring him to the U.S. immediately.
Freitas arrived just in time for the start of the fall semester.
Flores said Freitas had a lot to prove on the field and he finally did during Friday’s game against Cerritos College. Freitas played his first complete game of the season.
“He stepped up to the plate. At the Cerritos’ game, he broke a barrier. He had a good game. I have a lot of respect for him,” Flores said.
Freitas said his family was surprised he got the opportunity to become a student-athlete in the U.S. because at his 24 years of age, he is considered someone past his time in Brazil.
Freitas now has the opportunity to play soccer and study business, which he wanted to major in Brazil.
Freitas said he thinks it’s great how athletes are given the opportunity to study as they play their sport in the U.S. because in Brazil they don’t get that opportunity.
Freitas plays a fullback, but doesn’t mind playing any position if necessary. He said his transition to ELAC was smooth because he lives with another Brazilian soccer player who he can relate to.
During the time Freitas realized he wasn’t going to be a professional soccer player, he began to practice jiu-jitsu. He wanted to try something new that would disconnect him from soccer. However, he eventually went back to soccer.
His transition to Los Angeles wasn’t too difficult because he lived in Miami for a year. However, Freitas said Los Angeles feels more like an American city.
He plans on majoring in Business because he wants to open up his own clothing store, since Freitas like fashion.
“I sold clothes in Brazil and I like business. I like how you can see someone’s personality through clothes,” said Freitas.