Samba Soccer Stars
Brazilian players have traveled more than 4,000 miles from South America to play soccer at Missouri Baptist University, so what drives them to play their favorite sport and study at MBU?
The Missouri Baptist University men’s soccer team has many international players, but none more than the Brazilian players.
Yuri Pecanha, Rafael Rangel and Thales Teixeria all share the same inspiration and future goals after graduation.
Pecanha and Rangel, both transfer students from Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Ill., were born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and have been living in the United States since August 2013.
Pecanha, a junior midfielder majoring in accounting, is currently in his second year at MBU. Rangel, a sophomore midfielder majoring in business, is currently in his second semester at MBU.
Hoping to be successful in his life, Pecanha has high hopes for the future.
“I want to stay in United States after I get my bachelor degree. My plan is find a good job related with my major to be able to support my family in whatever they need,” said Pecanha.
Sticking to his roots, Rangel’s future leads him back to his homeland.
“After my graduation, I intend to go back to Brazil and start my life down there,” said Rangel.
Both Pecanha and Rangel were inspired to play soccer by Brazilian legend Ronaldinho Gaucho.
Not only were they both inspired by the same player but they also share the same love for Vasco da Gama, the professional soccer team in Brazil.
Rangel said he had some great experiences in his soccer career, but only one sticks with him the most. In 2010 Rangel played for his favorite club team, Vasco da Gama.
Thales Teixeria, a sophomore attacking midfielder majoring in business, is also from Rio de Janeiro.
Just like his fellow Brazilian teammates, Teixeria is also a huge fan of Ronaldinho. Unlike his Brazilian compatriots, Teixeria supports Fluminense F.C., which is Vasco da Gama’s in-state rival.
Teixeria is enjoying the soccer scene here at MBU.
“I am enjoying the soccer program at MBU, they try to treat us just like professional soccer players in the practices and everything else,” said Teixeria.
Having the same love of his country as fellow teammate Rangel, Teixeria plans to return home in the future after graduation.
“My plan is get my degree in business administration and then get back to Brazil to find a good job over there close to my family and friends,” said Teixeria.
The Brazilian natives all have high hopes in life and will continue to drive for their success at MBU.