Schioppa shines on and off the field
“Fique tranquilo” translates in Portuguese as “don’t worry,” and that’s exactly the mentality Belmont senior midfielder Luca Schioppa is known for on the men’s soccer team.
“He’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met,” said Tyler Veith, former roommate and teammate of Schioppa. “I don’t think anyone meets him and doesn’t think about him later because of that.”
Belmont coach Bryan Green agreed.
“He doesn’t get down on himself or his teammates, almost to the point of not caring. It’s not that he doesn’t care, though, he does,” said Green. “He’s just so confident and composed.”
Schioppa said soccer is all about the confidence you instill in others.
“When you’re confident, you pass well. When you’re not confident, even a 5-yard pass can be difficult,” he said. “No matter what you say to your teammates, don’t break their confidence.”
Schioppa’s non-verbals also set him apart, an asset both Green and Veith agree make him a leader on the team.
“When your best player is giving his best, it’s hard for anyone else not to,” said Green.
The São Paulo, Brazil native said he has grown significantly since first arriving in the United States. He attributes much of his growth to the friendships and other relationships he has formed during his time here.
Schioppa originally moved to South Kent, Conn. to attend a young men’s preparatory school where he learned English, played soccer and hoped for recruitment. It was there where he met his “American father,” his soccer coach at South Kent School and someone he still relies on for personal support.
After one season at South Kent, Schioppa was recruited by the University of Michigan where he spent one year playing for the Wolverines. The head coach resigned after Schioppa’s first season, which prompted the midfielder to transfer.
Schioppa arranged his own highlight video and scouting program to grab the attention of other NCAA schools where he was interested in transferring. He made the decision to attend Belmont- a decision he is still pleased with.
“I’m excited because I’m happy with my college career. I never won an NCAA championship, but I’m happy with the friendships I made,” said Schioppa. “I grew up a lot as a person and playing soccer helped me carry leadership skills off the field.”
During his career, Schioppa was named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com All-Independent Second Team in 2013 after a successful junior season which included a hat trick against Central Arkansas.
In his final season as a Bruin, Green said Schioppa undebatably stood out as the best player during games against Bradley, Oakland, Green Bay and Detroit.
Schioppa started in almost all 18 matches this season as a midfielder except one game when Green pulled him to the backline. Green said Schioppa was able to have more control of the game as a center back.
“He’s a unique player in the way that he’s a defender, an attacking center back,” said Green.
His uniqueness on the field translates off the field and those close to him say it will set him up for future endeavours.
“See where that smile can take him,” said Veith. “He’s so smart and good at meeting new people. He should use those strengths and take it as far he can. If you get in front of Luca, that’s what will hook you. People want to gravitate to him.”
This post was written by Brandi Jackson
Photo courtesy of Carlos Eduardo Barros de Almeida