Western Nebraska Community College’s Silvio Xavier and Leandro Faria spent one season on the pitch with each as members of the Cougar men’s soccer team. The two now will be spending another two years together as both inked with Bethel University in Kentucky last week.
The two are excited to be going to a four-year soccer program that is ranked in the NAIA national polls.
“I am going there because they have a good soccer program and they are going to pay for my school and my dorms,” Xavier said. “I talked to them and [Leandro] is going there, too. He is a good friend of mine. I think I will be happy over there.”
Having teammates to go together is a plus, especially for Xavier and Faria.
“It is important because when you go by yourself you have new people and you don’t know what will happen,” Xavier said. “I am going with Leandro and it will be good because we know each other, and we can help each other if we need.”
Finding the right soccer school was also important to Xavier.
“Soccer is my life and soccer is important to me,” he said. “Everyplace I go I look for a place to play soccer. It is important to me to continue my career as a soccer player.”
Faria, who was the goalkeeper for the Cougars for one year, is excited that he gets to go with Xavier to play soccer.
“It will be easier because we know each other and we can help bring them all together,” he said. “It will be nice for the friendship and we have each for support.”
For Faria, his teammates this year meant a lot to him and helped mold him as a player and person.
“At first when I got here, I was scared about the weather,” he said. “I learned a lot as a player, as a person, and I think it was a great experience to make my mind stronger and learn from my mistakes.”
Same with Xavier, who also grew as a person and player.
“I have improved a lot as a player, but I improved a lot as a person because I met my teammates and coach [Todd Rasnic],” Xavier said. “This school helped me grow as a man. As a player, I have grown with Thomas [Franze], Leo [Palamo], and all the guys, including the Brazilians. I am always learning.”
Last season at WNCC, Xavier and Faria helped the Cougars to a 9-win campaign before losing in the first-round of the Region IX playoffs 1-0 to Laramie County Community College. LCCC went on to win the regional title.
Xavier was the leading goal scorer for the Cougars, finishing with eight goals and on assist this past season. For his career, Xavier finished with 25 goals and 12 assists. As a freshman, Xavier kicked in 17 goals, which is second on the season goal-scoring charts. Xavier’s 25 goals is second on the career scoring chart, one goal behind Lawan Abary’s 26 career goals.
Faria was in net in 13 matches this year and gave up 1.17 goals per match, while recording 90 saves.
With the success the two have had at WNCC, both say it will be hard to leave WNCC and Scottsbluff.
“It will be so hard leaving here because I have good friends, especially coach. He is like my dad here,” Xavier said. “He helped me more than I need and I really appreciate to have him as a coach. I will also miss my dorm family and my little brother and little sister. I will miss everyone here.”
Same with Faria, who got a little emotional thinking about it.
“It will be hard leaving here especially leaving my friends, my roommates, and the school,” he said. “The staff here is really nice to me. I will miss my dorm parents and everyone. Everyone always was supporting me. It will be really hard especially now that I have a girlfriend.”