Rockland star João Faria’s record-breaking season brought academy offers, but he stuck with the community that welcomed him

As the highschool season neared, Faria talked along with his mother, Eleonice Paula, and coach Dan Kimball, who prompt he take the supply. There can be no onerous emotions.

However the 17-year-old felt indebted to the Rockland group, which welcomed him six years in the past when he and his mom moved from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Rockland had grow to be dwelling and there was unfinished enterprise on the pitch.

Faria turned down the chance and return to the Bulldogs for his junior season. He wasn’t prepared to go away the group that made his transition to the nation easy and filled with hope.

“I felt a connection with my teammates and my coach,” stated Faria. “This is a once in a lifetime thing and I wanted to stay. Rockland is my family.”

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It was no shock to Kimball that MLS NEXT got here calling after Faria posted 29 objectives final fall as a sophomore, main Rockland to an 18-2-1 end and the Division 4 state semifinals.

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The striker was named a South Shore League All-Star and an Jap Mass All-Star. Within the All-Star recreation coached by Kimball, Faria recorded a hat trick in a showcase full of the state’s greatest.

“It raised a lot of eyebrows,” stated Kimball. “I told him going to academy may be the best thing for your progression. But he told me there’s something about this program and something about this team and I need to come back. He felt he had an obligation to this program and this town.”

In June, Faria was voted a staff captain. Rockland graduated 14 gamers so Faria’s position as an upperclassmen is magnified this season as he helps usher in a brand new crop of gamers.

Kimball stated he was blown away by Faria’s management within the first recreation of the season final Wednesday. The Bulldogs scored a 4-0 win over Holbrook and freshman Gabe De Souza netted a hat trick. Faria didn’t rating that day, however he couldn’t have been happier for his new teammate.

Rockland coach Dan Kimball is aware of he has a gem in star João Faria.Jim Davis/Globe Workers

“There was nothing but smiles from João, he was like a proud older brother,” stated Kimball.

Added De Souza, “He was so proud of me and the team and I thought that was so cool. It made me feel glad he was our captain.”

Faria wasted no time opening his objective tally for the 2022 season, netting a career-high 5 objectives a day later in Thursday’s 8-3 win over Cardinal Spellman.

His 29 objectives final fall have been one wanting the single-season program document set by Kimball’s youthful brother, Joe, in 2016.

“We came so close a state title last year and João wants to bring that back,” stated Kimball. “But he also told me he’s breaking my brothers scoring record this year. We joked about that but he’s fully capable.”

At 6-foot-2, Faria has an ideal mixture of quickness, velocity, and measurement, however it’s his highly effective left foot that makes him one of many state’s high scorers. Some gamers merely have a knack for locating the again of the online, and Faria admitted he’s a pure born scorer, a byproduct of watching his father play in Brazil as a child.

“I think it’s just natural from watching my dad play,” stated Faria. “He was a striker too. I think I’m really fast. I can create for others or score for myself because of my shot.”

The transition from Brazil to Rockland wasn’t simple. Faria stated he struggled with the language and making mates. However soccer was at all times an outlet, and as soon as he obtained to highschool, a bond shaped between him, Kimball, and the Rockland program that made him consider soccer may very well be part of his future.

“I was not comfortable at the beginning but coach made me feel at home,” stated Faria.

Faria hopes to play in faculty in america or return to Brazil for an expert profession. Kimball believes staying at Rockland won’t influence these desires.

“You don’t have to go to a prep school or academy to reach college or professional level,” stated Kimball. “I don’t think this stymies him at all. It shows a lot about his character that he wants to stay in his home town and play with his friends.”

Nook kicks

▪ Arlington reached the Round of 16 in last season’s Division 1 tournament, which served as the tip of the iceberg for the Spy Ponders. Finishing the regular season undefeated, the Spy Ponders’ lone loss occurred at the hands of the eventual state champion, Brookline, in a 1-0 result.

“I think the fact that we got to the round of 16 said a lot about our program to our players,” said coach Lance Yodzio, embarking on his 23rd year at the helm. “We want to duplicate that. This is where we want to be. Our focus and goal is it’s all about the process.”

With four returning starters inheriting leadership roles, role players from last season’s team step into starting roles. A three-year starter, senior Barnabas Kiss anchors the defense at center back as a Middlesex League All-Star. Senior Aidan Sheehan, the team’s leading goal scorer last season and a fellow league All-Star, kickstarts the attack. Senior Gus Kathan solidifies the midfield in a holding role.

The Spy Ponders came out of the gate flying, downing Middlesex League opponent Watertown, 3-0, behind two goals from Sheehan. A strong nucleus of frontline players present the Spy Ponders as a formidable foe yet again, not satisfied with past successes.

“The players ask themselves what they can do today to make themselves a better player, their teammates a better player, and make themselves a better person through the game of soccer,” said Yodzio.

Games to watch

Tuesday, No. 4 Framingham at No. 1 Brookline, 3:45 p.m. –– Top five-ranked Bay State Conference Carey Division foes meet for the first time.

Tuesday, No. 12 BC High at No. 2 St. John’s Prep, 4 p.m. –– Traditional rivals collide in Danvers as Catholic Conference action begins.

Tuesday, No. 13 Wayland at Acton-Boxborough, 4:30 p.m. –– Two of the premier sides in the Dual County League square off in an early season test.

Wednesday, Peabody at No. 5 Masconomet, 4 p.m. –– The Tanners, who have posted 10 goals in two wins, face the high-powered defending Northeastern Conference champion Masconomet.

Saturday, No. 3 Needham at Oliver Ames, 5 p.m. –– The Rockets travel to North Easton to face the reigning Hockomock League champions, the Tigers.

Cam Kerry contributed to this story.

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