MEDIAPOLIS – Chris Rimmer takes the ball and passes it to Richard Neeves, who passes it on to Cesar Arroyo, who passes it on to David Chaves, who dribbles past two defenders, shoots and scores.

Goal, Iowa Wesleyan University men’s soccer team.

In reality, soccer has traveled a little over 100 meters, the length of a soccer field.

Regarding the origins of Iowa Wesleyan players, football has traveled 25,782 miles, more than the circumference of the earth – literally around the globe.

That’s because the Iowa Wesleyan men’s soccer team has players and coaches from 15 different countries on five different continents, each with different cultures, customs, and three different languages.

But when they step on the field, the Iowa Wesleyans men’s soccer team is one big family, and they speak the language of soccer known in Brazil as “the beautiful game”.

Welcome to Iowa Wesleyan Football.

“It’s such a great family. A lot of us are all internationals too, so it’s like we come here and we don’t know anyone. We just connect and that makes us really strong, I think, “said Neeves, a senior left / right-back from Adelaide, Australia with an upper secondary focus.” I am trying to learn Spanish. That’s a pretty dominant language in our language team. But I’m still pretty useless. I still understand. It is fun. “

“There is a lot of variety and we are a very close family. Everyone can see that when we get on the field, we live and play for our teammates. The best part is that it feels like family here, “said Arroyo, a senior midfielder from Castellon, Spain with a focus on corporate management.” I was in Maine for two years. Before my junior year, I decided to move over here and give it a try, getting to know different cultures and different parts of America was amazing. “

“We have people from Venezuela, Ecuador, Spain, England, Costa Rica, Panama, Wales, Australia, Ecuador and Argentina. Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa, Mexico and Americans, of course, “said Chaves, a senior left / right wing from Heledia, Costa Rica who specializes in corporate governance.” We have a little bit of everything. Different cultures, but we can all play well together and give our best. That’s what matters in the end. “

The Tigers have a 2-0-2 start to the season as head coach Jorge Sierra Galeas puts all the pieces in the right places, uniting different cultures and languages ​​into a unit that the Tigers like to refer to as family.

“The variety is great. Everyone comes from different backgrounds. It doesn’t matter here. Iowa Wesleyan men’s soccer, everyone is a family. We are all brothers here. We all fight for one goal. It’s great to have all of these different backgrounds. These guys play like they have for years. They understand what they are doing. We have a bright future for Tiger men’s football, “said Galeas, a 2018 graduate of Iowa Wesleyan who fell so much in love with the campus and community that he made Mount Pleasant his home.” As a former player in the program, the previous coach taught me so much and I’ve made lifelong friendships here. This is not just about friends in the field, it’s also about relationships in the classroom and in their personal lives. Iowa Wesleyan is the perfect place for that. As an Iowa Wesleyan alumni, it’s been a great experience and I want these kids to have the same experience that I had. “

The players make great sacrifices to play for Iowa Wesleyan and get the kind of education most simply cannot get in their home countries. It was especially difficult last year as the ongoing global pandemic prevented many of them from returning to their home countries to see their families. They had to rely on technology instead, and when it comes down to it, they have another one.

“I haven’t been home for a year and a half because of all the COVID that has happened. That made it very difficult to get home. I am very homesick. But I also have family here. It’s always nice to have. Hopefully after graduation I can come home and see my family again, “said Neeves.” It was fun coming here and playing like a big family. I am very happy. “

“The winter is colder and there is a lot of snow. I hardly see any snow in Spain, “said Arroyo.” It is quite difficult because the time difference in Spain is still seven hours. It’s quite difficult to talk to my family and girlfriend. But all of these people are like family and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. “

Wesleyan women’s football is another diverse team

The Iowa Wesleyan women’s soccer team is also very diverse. The Tiger Women have players from four different countries. Like men, they form a large family and learn different cultures and languages ​​in the process. And they have many of the same problems when they are this far from home.

“It’s very good. I like culturally diverse environments because I love to travel, meet a lot of new people from all over the world and connect and learn about different counties, which is good,” said the new goalkeeper Renae Petersen , a business executive from Old Reynelia. Australia. “It’s a fight because I’m home. I’ve been homesick for about a month, but I’m getting over it. I speak to my family at home. They are watching my games. It is good to have this opportunity with them. I talk to them through FaceTime, group texts, emails and the like. “

“It’s tough. You have to be very, very strong emotionally,” said newcomer defender Inryd Lima, a newcomer from Fortaleza, Brazil who specializes in sports business management. “I’m glad I have a lot of good friends here – my teammates, my coach. I even have a friend from Brazil, a friend who came with me from Kansas. I have friends who have made this emotionally challenging one Support part. It’s very hard without your friends at home. “

Through all of this, soccer players have expanded their education and horizons, spread their wings, and made lifelong friends through the sport that brought them all together as one big, happy family in Wesleyan Iowa.

“I have a good number of friends,” said Lima. “I have more friends on the men’s team. I have a lot of good friends in Wesleyan Iowa. You are very nice people. Anything you need, people are ready to help you. That’s what I love about America. People are always ready To help you with things. “

“It’s very different from home because I’ve never lived on a university campus,” said Petersen. “It’s a first opportunity, but it’s great.” I meet a lot of new people, opportunities and challenges. “

“Best of all, I’ll be in touch with them for the rest of my life,” said Arroyo. “You can come to my country whenever you want and vice versa.”