June 18, 2021
By Michael Lewis
Bruno Schiefer grew up in a soccer culture that is second to none in the world.
You can't escape the beautiful game in Brazil.
Soccer, football, futbol, whatever you want to call it, is treated like a religion there.
"It hard to explain," the Rochester Lancers midfielder said earlier this week. "Football is kind of like life in Brazil, especially kids. They grow up watching."
Bruno then rattled off several star Brazilian players.
"It's just a little kid's dream to become a soccer professional player," he said. It's a religion. We live soccer every day. We breath it. Man, it's great. I love it. I love it. I've been playing since I was a little kid."
Bruno, as he is known to many fans and teammates (soccer players go by one name in Brazil), joined the National Premier Soccer League team while he awaits the start of his senior season at Shawnee State University.
Growing up in Sao Paulo, the midfielder was introduced to the sport at a young age as he began kicking the ball around when he was three-years-old. After all, it runs in his family. His father Alan played soccer; his grandmother likes the sport as well.
So, how did he wind up in the United States?
Bruno, who turns 23 on June 29, had just finished high school. He tried to play for a few Sao Paulo youth clubs.
"It didn't work out for several reasons," he said. "I started like to be too old to become a professional soccer player there. To be a soccer professional player do you have to start very young, go for academies and all that. I was already 18 They just didn't want me anymore until then my father said that I could have opportunity to come to the United States and learn a new language in a new country and study and play soccer as well."
Bruno took up the offer. "He said if you don't like it, you can always come back," he said.
He hasn't, attending Kansas Community College for two years before transferring to Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. The school is located in the southern part of the state.
A business management major, Bruno's transition wasn't as difficult as perhaps one would think because he learned English while in Brazil.
"My dad always provided me with a good environment," he said. "We learned English, and we learned Spanish [in school]. He also put me in like private classes in school, just for English."
While Bruno had the basics, learning a language and speaking and writing it with precision is another challenge.
"I already had pretty good basic understanding of the language," he said. "When you first get here is like a completely different experience, talking and listening. It's not the same. when you're, when you're learning, and when you're actually doing it, it's a completely different experience.
"It's just like a job. When you go to university, you have the theories. When you actually go into the job you have to put those theories into action. I had a pretty good notion of the basics, but of course I just struggled a little bit. I learned like English in six months."
When Portuguese players Ibraim Silva, John Pedro and Vitor Moia joined the original Lancers in 1976, they were helped in learning English by watching television.
Bruno has followed suit. He also has learned the words he didn't know, using internet translators, when needed.
"I like to watch TV shows, movies in English," he said. "I like myself to put English subtitles. So, this way I can learn how to proper write it, and when I listen, I can learn how to properly speak the words."
As for the transition to a saturated soccer/football culture in Brazil to a growing one in the states, the 5-11, 155-lb. Bruno has survived.
"Luckily, I came here on a college scholarship to play soccer and study," he said. "So, I was very fortunate to be able to practice every day and just be able to be close to the game."
Of course, it certainly doesn't hurt that games - domestic and international - are available via streaming. He didn't have cable TV in college, so he went online to watch.
Bruno was looking for a team to play with this summer "so I could stay fit and possibly if someone takes interest in me because you never know who's looking or watching," he said.
His father, who had several USA contacts, wound up talking to former Lancers goalkeeper Marcelo Moreira, who played in Brazil.
"He offered me the opportunity to come here stay and stay at his house and play for the Lancers," Bruno said.
The Lancers (1-3-1, 4 points) look to improve on their fourth place standing in the Rust Belt Conference Division in the National Premier Soccer League by hosting the last-place Erie Commodores FC (0-4-1, 1) at Charles A. Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y. Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. The match is the nightcap of a doubleheader as the Lady Lancers play the Albany Rush in a United Women's Soccer encounter at 2 p.m. ET.
"We have a good team," he said. "We have a pretty good team, a very good team with a lot of talent. We have been working a lot on correcting our mistakes and improving every week."
Bruno noted that the Lancers had 10 scoring opportunities in their most recent game, a 3-2 home loss to the Pittsburgh Hotspurs on June 20.
"Unfortunately, we lost a game that we could have won if we could put those goals in the net," he said. "That's the game of soccer. When you don't put if we put the ball behind the net, you take the risk on getting scored on and we that's what happened. We just got to focus on just keep getting better and better, trying to find a way to get that chemistry going, and just work."
Bruno's ultimate goal after college?
To play for a professional team in the states or anywhere in the world. After all, it is an open market.
"Right now, I'm looking to finish my degree next year," he said. "I obviously have a goal, that dream of becoming a professional soccer, what every athlete dreams of. You can always perform better and better and better and just reach that level that everyone like everyone wants. I'm looking to getting better every day, listen to the advice that Doug [Miller, Lancers head coach] has for me ... Just keep working to get better. He was a skilled professional. So, every advice and or critique that he can give to me, I'll listen to. He obviously has more experience than me.
"In Brazil, it is very, very hard for me to become a soccer professional soccer player right now. Kids today are like 16-17-years-old and they're already becoming pros. It's just crazy. So Brazil probably doesn't have anything in store for me right now. If there's more open doors somewhere else so I'll be happy to take a look at it. You never know."