• Salome Caballero

Spotlight Saturdays: Felipe Silva

Felipe Silva was born in Sᾶo Paulo, Brazil. There his grandfather taught him how to play soccer.

With his country being globally known for its soccer legends, it isn’t hard to believe that, at the young age of 4, the winger and striker was introduced to the game and pushed to be the best version of himself. Silva said that this is what has kept him motivated every day and what made him fall in love with the game right from the start.

In search for better opportunities, Silva and his family moved to Kansas, where he lived for four years. He said that it was a big change in which he had to adapt not only to a new culture and environment but also to a different language. Three months after his arrival, both Silva and his brother were already speaking English and making new friends.

Then, they moved to Florida, where they have been for the past seven years. He said that coming to Florida reminded him of how it used to be back home.

The closeness to the beach, different plans that could be made with friends, and the presence of more Brazilian people made it easier for him to adapt to the “Floridian culture.”

He also started looking for places where he could challenge his soccer skills and found that the UPSL could be a good first step to take.

While he was looking for teams, Silva found himself working for Liam O’Brien, owner and head coach of Inter Orlando, by coaching kids from elementary school.

When O’Brien founded the club, Silva joined right away.

“It was a coincidence that I met Liam at the same time I was looking for a club,” Silva said. “Everything worked out perfectly.”

He said that it has been gratifying to see the club grow throughout the years. He said that he has seen how the program has evolved into a launching pad for those who hope to go to a college program or to become professionals.

Silva said that he couldn’t be prouder of the club and what it has achieved throughout the years, with his happiest memory being when the team won the league title.

He explained that the team went through a lot of injuries and doubts during preseason, but that in those tough times he saw how a team became a brotherhood with chemistry both inside and outside of the field.

“The feeling of lifting the trophy was amazing because it was our very first trophy with Inter Orlando and to be a part of that just felt really good,” Silva said. “I’ve lifted a lot of other trophies in my career before, but this one was special because it was a club that was jut built.”

Self-described as a man of God and his family, he said that right from the beginning his goals have been to become pro and to make his family proud.

“On that first game of me playing professionally I want to have my grandpa there so he can see that everything that he taught me paid off,” Silva said. “If it weren’t for him showing me the sport that keeps on motivating me each and every day to keep getting better and better I don’t know where I would be right now in my life.”

Citing Ronaldo as his favorite player and inspiration, he said that he hopes to play for Real Madrid . Silva said that watching so many Brazilian players with similar struggles to the ones he had to face making it into the club because of their talent and passion is something that he can relate to.

He said that even after that he wants to stay connected to the game while giving back to the community and teach kids how soccer can change their lives.

“Soccer has taught me a lot, it has taught me everything that I know. I honestly can say that I’m the person I am today because of it, Silva said. “When I started playing at such a young age, back in Brazil, I had a tough life and soccer was the one thing that would keep me going. Soccer never left me.”

Having played soccer for so long, he said that he doesn’t really get nervous anymore. He tries to focus on his role and what he has to do before matches. He also thanks God for the opportunity of stepping on the field and playing another game.

Silva said that when he’s on the field all of the chaos and drama of everyday life is dismissed, with the game being the only thing on his mind.

“Those 90 minutes it’s just me with my teammates and the soccer ball,” Silva said. “All my other worries just go away.”

Silva said that soccer has taught him many lessons that he carries with him every day, and he hopes that those who may want to start playing can understand how the sport can be life changing.

“If you want to start playing soccer, do it for the right reasons, do it because you love it and not because somebody’s telling you to,” Silva said. “It’s more than just a game.”

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