Student’s passion for soccer spans two continents
Hometown: Santos, Brazil
Hobbies: Soccer, FIFA, Movies/Shows
Favorite Saying: “Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it, and you’ll start believing in it.”
“He shoots, he scores,” exclaims Gabriel Vegas Valente, as he plays FIFA on his PlayStation. “Incredible performance from Valente, and the Brazilian wins again.” A game that combines both of his passions for soccer and commentary, Valente succeeds at both.
Valente is an international student studying broadcasting and sports communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Born and raised in Santos, Brazil, Valente’s passion for announcing began when he young. His grandmother gave him a game called button-soccer; the premise was simple: Put the ball in the net with small buttons on a table. Imagination, however, can make it so much more than that.
“I remember announcing the games that I would play with my father and grandfather,” he said. “I would stage world cups and tournaments all in button-soccer.”
His love for soccer and play-by-play did not stop there. EA sports partnered with FIFA to create a video game around soccer. Valente purchased his first copy when he was 10 and ever since has muted the television to announce his matches.
He has become fluent in English partially because of his habitual announcing, but also because of his participation in an English-learning program in which he was paired with a teacher three days a week for three hours each day online. Thanks to this program, Valente earned an American high school diploma instead of a Brazilian diploma. This is significant for Valente because he has the opportunities to do what he loves in sports.
“Sports commentary is big in Brazil,” Valente said. “However, there are not any good schools to learn it there. Here I can walk into a recording booth and do anything I want. By getting an American diploma in high school, I was able to get here and continue my passion for play-by-play.”
Valente has already had an internship in social media for a soccer club in Brazil, and he hopes to further his passion in broadcasting at Nebraska. He plans to return to Brazil after graduation where his dream would be calling play-by-play for Sao Paulo FC.