International athletes journey to Jackson to play soccer

For most students at a new school they worry about making new friends, finding their classes without getting lost and getting along with their roommates. But how much more intimidating would it be for them to start later than the rest of campus? This was the case for several of Union’s student athletes.

Andre Silva is a freshman international athlete from Cascais, Portugal. | Photo by Julie Robinson
Andre Silva is a freshman international athlete from Cascais, Portugal. | Photo by Julie Robinson

Andre Silva, freshman business management major from Cascais, Portugal, had many hoops to jump through to get his temporary visa and papers for the NCAA approved. Silva, who should have been able to move in when the rest of the soccer team did in early August, arrived in Jackson Aug. 27.

The process to get approved by NCAA to play soccer internationally on a college level is not an easy one. After three months of waiting and great amounts of paperwork, Silva was approved to come to Tennessee the day before the cut off.

“When Clayton Martin gave a speech before our first game it was really motivational,” Silva claimed as his favorite moment of his time at Union so far.

Henrique Loureiro, sophomore business management major, is an international soccer player from Portugal. | Photo by Julie Robinson
Henrique Loureiro, sophomore business management major, is an international soccer player from Portugal. | Photo by Julie Robinson

Henrique Loureiro, sophomore business management major also from Cascais, Portugal, tells a nearly identical story. Aug. 27 was the arrival date for Loureiro as well, but he had more of an issue with papers from his previous university in Portugal. He said he was able to transfer 48 credit hours because his university was American.

After arriving several weeks late, the two Portugal natives have made a new home.

They admit that they still prefer Portugal to Tennessee because their city was only five minutes from the beach but have found a sense of community in the soccer team and with the other international students here.

“The international students are all very connected and have helped us get to know other people,” Loureiro said.

When going to a new country, one can count on the culture and the language to be different, but for Silva and Loureiro the sport is even different.

In Portugal the rules for stopping the clock and substituting players differ from the rules here in the United States. Both players agree that they enjoy the rules of soccer here in the United States more.

Image courtesy of Julie Robinson|Cardinal & Cream
About Julie Robinson 14 Articles
Julie Robinson, class of 2017, is a public relations major and business management minor. She's from Murfreesboro, TN and loves all things outdoors, Atalnta Braves, and ESPN.