Brazilian Flavor Hits the FAU Women’s Soccer Team
By: Stephanie Fonseca
Geovana Alves, a forward for the FAU Women’s Soccer Team, comes from overseas and is FAU’s first Brazilian to play on the team.
Alves, a Junior majoring in Exercise Science, was born in a small military town in the state of Roraima, Brazil. Born to a father who was active in the military, moving was a very common thing, little would she know that soccer would take her halfway around the world.
“My mom would tell my dad and older brothers to get us kids out of the house, so they took us to the field to play soccer,” Alves recounts in a sit down interview. Alves was the fourth of five children, having two older brothers who also played soccer they would see her speed and technique and knew that she was born to play the game.
“My two older brothers are my best friends and they are the reason I started playing soccer,” Alves says. They saw her speed, her best friends became her coach and everything bloomed. She finally joined a team when she was eight years old and daddies little girl was the family’s soccer star.
She looked into the distance reliving the moments, “it’s funny because of the three sons, it was daddy’s little girl who ended up pursuing soccer,” Alves laughed. But as she grew up and began to play club soccer in Brazil, she finally fully understood her passion for the game. And as her passion ignited into full flame she began to catch coaches’ eyes and started looking for opportunities abroad to play the game.
In December 2012, an opportunity emerged in Bristol, England where Alves would be able to go to school to learn and perfect her English and also play the game she loves so much. But while in Bristol, Alves got an email from Coach Lessa from Iowa Central Community College, inviting her to play soccer for their team.
Alves and her parents agreed to the offer from Coach Lessa and Iowa Central and in the summer of 2013 she moved to Iowa and began as a forward hoping to catch the sights of some large colleges. “Coach Lessa was extremely helpful, not only did she help me become a better player but she also helped with all of the details with my move to Iowa,” Alves says.
Her sophomore year, a flame ignited and she was on fire. Her passion and skills got her selected on to First Team Junior All American.
But, how Alves got to FAU was an interesting story.
In an interview with FAU Women’s Soccer Head Coach, Coach Baker, he recounts how initially another young lady had emailed the Soccer Department about her interest in playing for FAU. But when Coach Baker and Coach Montgomery, reached out to coach Lessa, “She told us, ‘you don’t want the player who has emailed you but we might have a player that would interest you,’” said Baker.
Coach Lessa proceeded to send over Alves’ highlight tape, “and it didn’t take too long of watching the footage to know that Geovana was a pretty special talent,” said Baker.
Being that Alves was selected for the First Team Junior All American, she also got offers from UCF and Arkansas. But everything pointed to South Florida, so Alves decided to bring her talents to the Owls.
With her start at the Owls this fall the Coaches were hopeful to see what she could add to the team. “She’s a tremendous young lady and a phenomenal athlete,” says Baker, “she’s got great pace and has shown that she can create chances and score a lot of goals.”
As the season began, Alves did not disappoint and she showed her coaches and her team that she was not a one trick pony and brought more than just speed to the team. “She has scored on break aways, in traffic, with her head and her feet. She has an unpredictability,” said Baker.
The only thing Coach Baker would like to work on with Alves as she progresses through the season into the off season, is to play with her back to goal so that she can turn and get faced with the goal.
However, in past years there was one problem. FAU’s opponents knew that if they closed down Claire Emslie, the face of FAU Women’s Soccer and FAU’s leading goal scorer, they knew they had closed down FAU. “But now,” Baker says, “if you stop Claire, you better watch out for Geo.”