DEER ISLE—The Deer Isle-Stonington High School boys soccer team got a hint of South American culture this season, as two of its players were exchange students from Brazil and Bolivia.
Arthur Peixoto of Brazil is a senior at the school this year, while Rodri Cespedes of Bolivia is a member of the junior class. Both came to the school as part of the CCI Greenheart Foreign Exchange Student program. When he signed up for the program last year, Peixoto said that he filled out the paperwork and waited until he was assigned to a school. Cespedes had a little more control over his placement, choosing Maine as the state he wanted to come to.
“I kind of knew what I was getting into because I chose Maine, but I didn’t know where in Maine I would go to,” said Cespedes after school Tuesday, November 8.
“I had no idea where I was going,” said Peixoto.
Both students came to the island a couple of weeks before school started, to adapt to their host families and to begin practicing with their teammates.
“Everybody was very accepting right away,” said Peixoto.
“All of our teammates were nice to us and fun to play with right away,” added Cespedes.
Both boys grew up playing soccer in their native countries, but the experience playing Maine high school soccer was much different than the South American soccer culture they grew up in.
“In Brazil, everybody plays soccer, so you’re just another player there,” said Peixoto. “But here, everyone was like ‘oh you’re Brazilian you must be really good.’ Sports are a much bigger deal here than at my school, so that was fun to play.”
Peixoto and Cespedes come from very different backgrounds on the soccer pitch; however, they both found themselves in foreign positions early on in the season.
A goalie by experience, Cespedes was put in the midfield position to begin the season and then moved up to a center forward position. That center forward position had been held by Peixoto to start the season, but Peixoto was moved to fullback to help strengthen the defense. That change marked the first time he had played a defensive position in his young soccer career.
Both students said that the highlight of the season was the team’s first win, a 2-1 victory over Schenck midway through the season.
“We had started the season off badly, but then we beat a really good team and that was great for us,” said Cespedes.
Now that the season is over, both students have turned their attention to tackling basketball and winter, two things that are foreign to them in an already foreign country.
“We’ve both signed up for basketball, but I’m not very good,” said Cespedes with a chuckle.
“I’m not either,” said Peixoto.
As for the winter months?