When Joshua Davies moved from England to the United States to play soccer here at Mississippi College, he was met with brutal heat that he had not experienced before. “It’s been ridiculously hot. Training every day at 1:30, right in the middle of the heat of the day. It’s definitely not that hot in England,” Davies said.
Antoine Recizac, who transferred to Mississippi College from Leeds Trinity University in England, says that the heat in Mississippi surprised him, “Coming to the south of America, I did not really expect it to be the way that it is.” He also added, “It’s very physical and especially being in the South, a lot of players can cope with the heat, which for me has been the most difficult part. The physicality and the intensity in the heat is the biggest difference for me.”
When soccer players move from all over the world to Clinton, Miss., to play soccer, they are all presented with challenges. Recizac says that one main difference for him is the lack of public transportation, saying, “There is not a lot of public transport, and things just seem to be miles away. So for me, who’s used to taking public transport everywhere, I can’t really move now, and I rely on my teammates, so that’s a big change for me.”
There is also a difference between the way soccer is played and the style of soccer here in America as opposed to elsewhere in the world. Marco Sellan, of Italy, said that the length of the collegiate soccer season as opposed to most soccer seasons around the world was the biggest adjustment for him. He added, “For me, from Italy, the main difference is the type of the season. I’m used to playing eight months, and the season here is four months, and it’s very short. So for me, that’s the main difference, and I have to change some things about my behavior.”
Recizac also added that a big difference for him is the size of the team, which at MC is 42 players, more than double that of a lot of teams in Europe.
Davies added that he expected there to be a big difference in the physicality of the English game to that in America, but he was surprised when there was not, adding, “I would say the biggest surprise for me is the physicality of it. I did not think it would be as physical as football in the U.K., but it is, if not more. There is a lot of different teams who play lots of different ways, so that’s something you have to get used to as well.” Recizac added, “I would say, the pace of the game is not that different from the European pace,”
Davies, Recizac, and Sellan said that being able to play soccer while getting their degrees is a huge plus for them. Sellan added that he enjoys all of the team being in close proximity to each other, saying, “We are all together close. Everyone is very close. We are always together.”
With so many players from so many different countries including England, Spain, France, Italy, Ghana, Scotland, Peru, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, and the U.S., there are so many cultures all coexisting on the same team. Davies says that he enjoys playing with Brazilians and seeing different styles of play mesh. “You have the Brazilians with all of their silky skill combined with the English more traditional style of play. It’s nice to play with everyone and those different cultures. It’s good learning new things.”
Recizac, who has played on international teams before, says that he has never played with anyone from Brazil or America before. He added, “I’ve always been in an international team, but for me the big difference is the Brazilians. I’ve never played with Brazilians before, or Americans, so it’s interesting to see how they play.”
Moving to a new country, culture and climate in and of itself is a difficult challenge. Add in doing those things along with playing a sport and also taking College classes, and you have a whole new animal. Even with these challenges, Sellan added “it’s really good, and I enjoy it here”.