For senior captain Gabriel Camara, the experience playing college soccer was a memorable journey. With the men’s season over in early November, the Johnnies captain reflected on his experience.
“I loved coming four years ago as a freshman, just 18 and needing to adjust the pace to the quality,” Camara said. “I learned a lot from the culture, my teammates, especially the older guys. To fit in, to adapt the style of soccer, I’m very thankful I came to St. John’s.”
Growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, it was a big adjustment to move to the United States. Coming from a small town in Atibaia, the 6’1 defender was amazed by the level of competition and intensity of Division 1 soccer.
“When I came, I was a little out of shape, so I’m glad I came over the summer, so I had time to get in shape. The main difference on defense I felt was athleticism and physicality,” Camara said. “Here in the U.S, everyone was faster, taller and stronger than back home. So, that took me a couple weeks to adjust.”
The senior leader finished with a total of five career goals, including a game-winner during the 87th minute in a regular season match against Fordham on Sep. 17 at Belson Stadium. However, two of Camara’s most memorable moments came from his debut in Belson alongside his big play in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
“My first game that I played here, there was over 1,000 people watching, that’s the first time in my life that I played for so many people, Camara said. “Great experience, I wasn’t expecting that.”
“But, my happiest moment here was playing under the national championship in the NCAA Tournament away against Delaware and scoring the first goal that made it 1-0,” Camara continued. “So I remember that day as one of the greatest days that I had here. Just helping the team go past the first round away against a very good Delaware team with over a thousand people. I’m sure I will never forget that experience.”
The Sao Paulo native also acknowledged his incredible time serving as captain of the young soccer team which includes 16 freshmen.
“It was a great experience to be a captain of the team after everything that St. John’s gave me in the past 3-4 years,” Camara responded. “It’s my turn to give a little bit back. We had very good group of guys very different backgrounds and characteristics It was a pleasure. We worked out together. We worked out well. I hope my experience helping them with school and soccer carries on for the next 2-3 years.”
After graduating from St. John’s in May, the future looks bright for the Brazilian native.
“I’m pursuing my MBA in Business Administration,” Camara said. “I want to 100% stay in touch with St. John’s, to see how the boys are doing, the coaches and, hopefully, start working in New York City.”