DeSousa brings global game to FGCU
We’re in Vila Velha, Brazil. In the mid-1990s Felipe DeSousa dreamed of being the next soccer superstar. What he didn’t know is that he was honing the skills to live his dream. Today, DeSousa is a record-breaking, offensively gifted forward for the Florida Gulf Coast University soccer team. DeSousa overcame living in a small, poor town, which he describes as, “Humble people living life day by day and having fun while they’re doing it.”
DeSousa recounts early memories of kicking a soccer ball.
“The time I remember was me by myself, in the house, just kicking balls,” DeSousa said. “I broke the TV (one time), and it almost fell on top of me.”
DeSousa lived in Brazil until 2003, when he was 12 years old. He didn’t play organized soccer until his junior year in high-school because he had to learn English.
DeSousa has a very close relationship with his grandmother, who basically raised him after his father left his mother and him when DeSousa was very young
DeSousa said his grandma means everything to him. You can see a glow in his eyes when he speaks about her.
“She was a humble lady, who always woke up with a smile on her face,” DeSousa said.
He also said that his grandmother is a very reserved woman. When DeSousa or his mother offer to fly her to America, she declines. She only comes out of the house when it’s absolutely necessary.
For DeSousa, one of the most difficult transitions in moving to America from Brazil is the contrast in social behavior. He said people in Brazil are much closer than in America. DeSousa feels that everyone lives in their own little world here in the U.S. Material possessions mean little to him and his fellow compatriots.
His teammates tell him that he has the most energy of anyone on the team. He does not shy away from being vocal at practice.
DeSousa said when his career as an FGCU soccer player is done, he will take life lessons with him.
“I grew up a lot (since enrolling at FGCU),” DeSousa said. “It made me see how the real world is. How hard it is.”
Coach Bob Butehorn enjoys having DeSousa on the field.
“Felipe’s combination of skill and athleticism adds another offensive dimension to our program,” Butehorn said. “His ability to break down teams off the dribble and accurate long range shot — make him a valuable offensive threat. His quiet demeanor allows him to lead and teach by example.”
DeSousa says to relax and focus he meditates and does yoga. He says it helps him cope with stress, and find peace. It also helps him clear his mind.
It is with a humble, simple attitude that he lives by that has gotten him where he is, and will drive him to future success. Butehorn feels this humble attitude is key to DeSousa’s development.
“Felipe is an extremely likable individual both on and off the field. Being a humble student makes his potential growth as a positive role model all the more possible,“ Butehorn said.
“I try to keep the negatives and the positives out of my head,” DeSousa said. “If I think about the positives too much I’ll get ahead of myself.”