I am Brazilian. I love the beautiful game. It runs in my blood, it fuels my soul.
Right when I started college, I discovered a deep desire to not only play football, but to share it with the world. Football is like an universal language which all of us speak, whether you know that already or not. A fascination for coaching started to burn inside of me. Doing it felt good, it felt rewarding, it brought me contentment. I began coaching during my freshman year of college, when I was a student-athlete at the University of Central Florida; and I haven't stopped since then. I knew coaching was the right profession for me, one in which I could do it in a purposeful way.
I was blessed with a successful career in college. Once I was done, I had the opportunity to play a professional season abroad (Finland), which was an amazing experience. There, I was able to continue my coaching, working with the youth goalkeepers from the club I played for. When I returned from Europe, my desire to stay in America was enormous (I love this country!), but that would mean discarding the possibility of playing pro, since there wasn't a Women’s Pro League at that time. Without hesitation, I noticed I had one clear thing in mind: I wanted to stay in college athletics and continue my education. Greatly because of important mentors in my life, I was starting to realize that I was quite good at coaching. So I set goals… I wanted to become a bad ass coach.
The first step for that was working under a competent staff, and surrounding myself with people who were what I wanted to become. So I stayed at UCF, to work under one of the top coaches in the country, Amanda Cromwell, and her talented staff.
My coaching career happened pretty fast. In the blink of an eye, I had my tiny car packed all the way up, traveling cross-country, on the way to Los Angeles, California, with a mission in hands: coach the UCLA goalkeepers, some of the best ones in the nation. I was so happy! I felt ready, I felt excited! Before I knew it, I finished the season as a National Champion! (How awesome!?). The 2013 season was unforgettable. I saw the best football ever played in college soccer and worked with highly talented and dedicated athletes.
Oh well, life was good… I worked at one of the best intuitions in the world, loved my co-workers, loved the team and had the lifestyle I always dreamed of. Life was pretty awesome and I felt pretty content with where I was………........................................................................................until the Women's World Cup came around.
Every game I watched made me miss playing the sport that’s ingrained in my soul, the passion that’s in my blood. Comments like “you should be in goal for Brazil”, “what are you doing here? why aren't you playing for your national team?”, “you should be the starting goalkeeper”, from not only friends and family, but especially, from soccer minds who had seen me in action and followed my playing career. Every one of those comments kept adding more wood to the fire in my heart. I started feeling unquiet. I was happy and grateful for where I was; but part of me kept nagging, kept showing me something was still undone. My playing years weren't over and I had finally accepted that.
It was time to listen to my own advices, the advices I always gave every athlete I ever coached: “dream big”, “don't settle for less, don't get complacent”, “set the bar high and go after it”, “chose to live an extraordinary life”… I started to feel hypocritical, like someone who wasn't walking the talk. So I decided to, once again in my life, step into the unknown. It was time get out of my comfort zone and chase the dream again!
So let the “Road to Rio” begin…