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November 21, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-21

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bA - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

fiA - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Pereira paves the path to America

Daily Sports Writer
Nothing binds a country
together like the world's most
popular game. In Brazil, there's
hardly anything comparable to
22 athletes and a ball inside a sta-
dium - 90 minutes of emotional
bliss that can push away a per-
son's worries and urgencies with
the first tremendous strike on
Soccer has tied Michigan
junior midfielder Fabio Pereira
and his country together through
a prominent mutual bond. His dad
played, his brother nearly made it
professionally back home in Sao
Paulo and everyone else in Brazil
can easily relate to the experi-
ence that soccer brings to South
America's largest and most soc-
cer-crazed nation.
"Soccer is like a culture,"
Pereira said. "Even among the
lower classes you see people just
playing in the streets."
Pereira was no different - soc-
cer strengthened every connec-
tion in his life, from his family to
friends, and between his home
and another country.
Pereira has always been a step
ahead throughout his soccer
career - he's had a ball at his feet
ever since he could walk, and ulti-
mately he competed at the highest
youth levels with many of his bud-
dies back home. Pereira says his
fondest sports memories in Brazil
stem from the youth tournaments
that he participated in across the
"In high school, I went with
this team in Brazil to play in the
Gothia Cup and we made it to the
finals," Pereira said. "It was really
cool for me to make it all the way
The Gothia Cup is the largest
youth soccer tournament in the
world. More than 1,500 teams
from 72 countries competed last
year in the week-long event that
takes over Gothenburg, Sweden
every July.
On a global stage with over
52,000 people attending the
matches, it's easy to understand
why the experience was so pow-
erful for Pereira. You can label'the
experience an unforgettable one
for a student-athlete that every

Junior midfielder Fabio Pereira coses from Brazil, where soccer is king. He's brought that passion to Michigan.

himself in top fitness and his work
ethic is superb."
Pereira has received unending
praise from his coaches, but he's
always focused on getting better
and enjoys living in the moment.
Ann Arbor and Sao Paulo, partic-
ularly with respect to the sports
atmosphere, share some recog-
nizable differences that he can
fully embrace.
Michigan is just another stop
in Pereira's path, but possibly the
most impressive one, at least at
this stage of his career. Pereira
has always been ahead of his com-
petition, whether it's by crossing
up opponents with crafty foot-
work, succeeding in the class-
room or deciding to move to the
United States.
During the season, double
teams would flock to Pereira
in hopeless attempts to some-
how diminish his confidence on
the ball. Additionally, opposing
defenses have hardly salivated
at the bitter' taste of Pereira's
remarkable ability to place the
ball anywhere he wants, as he tal-
lied eight assists this year.
Pereira's journey from Brazil
to Connecticut to Michigan has
bridged a new path for some of
his friends from his youth team to
"From my friends, I was the
first one to come to America,"
Pereira said. "Now, two of them
play at Kentucky and one is at
Wake Forest."
Pereira's life has been directly
paralleled to numerous instances
of success and important connec-
tions. Like soccer has the ability
to unite an entire nation, Pereira
has fused a connection between
the United States and Brazil for
himself and his friends back home
to have a better chance at playing
professionally someday.
. At Michigan, Pereira is getting
a taste of what a professional foot-
baller, as most of South Ameri-
cans would say, feels like each
time he steps on the pitch. Until
he can entirely grasp the ecstasy
of playing at the highest level, the
always-rowdy Michigan Ultras
will have to take the place of true
soccer fanatics and the U-M Soc-
cer Complex can act as a sufficient
precursor for the next chapter of
Pereira's career.

Michigan soccer fan has grown
to love.
"My dad (got me started) when
I was like 3 years old," Periera
said. "(He) was huge in my deci-
sion to come here to the U.S."
Pereira came to the United
States just before his senior year
of high school, and for genuine
reasons that reiterated the true
meaning of the term student-ath-
"I always wanted to play pro-
fessionally," Pereira said. "I had
to drop out of school to play soc-
cer in Brazil and it was a very
risky choice. Here I can still get a
degree and pursue my future, and
then (still) get in the MLS draft,
His ambition landed him in
Connecticut, where he led South
Kent High School to a New Eng-
land Championship, en route to
winning all-state honors in his
first year in the United States.
Fabio continued to tally up more
remarkable accomplishments,
even in an extremely unfamiliar
But the transition between the

for his
could l
good s
"I k
(of Er
cult fo
one se
deal w
in the
belt, h
has be
"I c
the atr

cas wasn't easy. If it wasn't for me," Pereira said. "I wanted
s father, Pereira very well tobe a part of something new and
have been back in Brazil for make this a winning program.
everal years ago. You can get so much college sup-
new the basic of the basics port for sports here."
nglish)," Pereira said. "I Additionally, the Michigan
say hello and thank you but men's soccer team's transition
about it. It was very diffi- back to the national stage has
r me. I almost gave up after undergone a resurrection with
mester, but I just made a Pereira's breakout season this fall.
ith my dad to finish out the He racked up six goals during the
season and anchored the Michi-
gan offense nearly every match.
First-year ' Michigan coach
Chaka Daley knew that Pereira
oU can get so was a unique talent the first time
he watched him play in the 2010
such college College Cup. After all, he was the
man who put the Wolverines in
;upport for the Final Four with his sliding
overtime finish in the Elite Eight
ports here." against Maryland. Taking the
job at Michigan with a player like
Pereira running the offense must
have eased some nerves this fall.
w having spent a few years "Fabio and I met in January,"
United States under his Daley said. "There were a few
is transition to Michigan players that were seen as widely
en much smoother. recognized (in the NCAA Tour-
ame to the campus (and) nament), and (Fabio) came highly
mosphere was unbelievable accredited. He's hungry, keeps

face off in
CCHA tilt
Daily Sports Writer
It has been just five days since
the No. 19 Michigan hockey team
suffered its first sweep of the sea-
son at home against No. 6 Notre
Dame. And now Bowling Green
comes to town for a one-off mid-
week game with hopes of upset-
ting the struggling Wolverines.
Yost Ice Arena hasn't been nec-
essarily friendly this year to the
Wolverines, as Michigan (2-5-1
CCHA, 4-6-1 overall) has gone
4-4 at home. The Wolverines are
winless on the
road, though, BGSU at
going 0-2-1 so
far. Last week- Michigan
end, when No. Matchup:
6 Notre Dame BGSU 2-8-3;
easily defeated UM 4-6-1
Michigan in When:
both contests Wednesday
of a two-game 7:35 p.m.
series, Yost
didn't seem like Ichere: Yost
the best place to
Despite Michigan's struggles,
the Falcons (1-5-2, 2-8-3) seem
like the perfect team to allow the
Wolverines to snap a three-game
losingstreak spanning all the way
back to their loss against Michi-
gan State in East Lansing on Nov.
10. Bowling Green comes into
Wednesday's contest tied with
Northern Michigan for the worst
record in the conference.
"I'm sure (Bowling Green) is
a better team than their record,"
said Michigan coach Red Beren-
son. "I think we're trying to prove
we're a better team than our
Berenson said that in any single
game, no team in the conference is
better than any other. But Michi-
gan holds statistical advantages
in both goals scored and goals
allowed over Bowling Green. The
Wolverines have 23 goals scored
and 29 goals allowed in confer-
ence play, compared the just 12
goals scored and 22 goals allowed
for the Falcons.
Despite these statistics, Michi-
gan has been inconsistent as of
late, and it holds just two more
points than Bowling Green in
the conference standings. A Wol-
verine loss on Wednesday would
position the Falcons ahead of
Michigan for ninth-place by alone
Though Bowling Green has not
shown itself to be a powerhouse,
or even a threat, the Wolverines
can't let their guard down -
Berenson said they did just that
against Michigan State two weeks
ago, leading to an embarrassing
7-2 loss in East Lansing.
"You're always going to have
people that don't respect the
opponent and that's why there
are upsets," Berenson said. "It's
our job to get our team focused

on how we have to play. We can't
look at the opponent, we've got to
look at (us). We need to show up
and then we'll worry about the
Inconsistency in the defensive
zone and in offensive produc-
tion have plagued Michigan dur-
ing its current losing streak. One
solution that Berenson used was
to mix up some of the lines, and
he said that this week the coach-
ing stuff has been making "subtle
changes" to getthe lines going yet
How the short rest will affect
the Wolverines also remains to be
seen. After the loss to the Spar-
tans, Michigan had just five days
to prepare for the Fighting Irish -
resulting in a loss and the sweep.
Senior defenseman Lee Moffie,
who has experienced similar
games and series on shorter than
usual rest, said that this should
not play a major factor.
"The other teams deal with the
same thing, so it's kind of a two-
way thing," he said.
Either way, Bowling Green
appears to be the perfect team to
get Michigan back on track after
a difficult start to the season. But
Berenson knows that it won't just
be a weaker opponent that will set
the path right.

Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

RELEASE DATE- Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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