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Soccer standout prepares for a career in coaching

Soccer standout prepares for a career in coaching

A childhood love for soccer has widened the field of opportunities for Lucas Camargo.

Now a graduate student at Winona State University-Rochester, Lucas is pursuing a degree in leadership education and sports management. He plans to graduate with his master’s this December and pursue a career coaching soccer and organizing sports events.

“Besides playing [soccer], I’ve always loved the tactical part, the psychological part, and the impact that coaching can have on people,” explains Lucas. “To be a role model. To impact kids, not only as players but as leaders and as individuals.”

Lucas moved to the U.S. from his hometown of São Paulo, Brazil in 2011 on a scholarship to play soccer and study at Williams Baptist College in Arkansas. He laced up the cleats all four years, and as a captain helped lead the team to its first two conference tournaments in history.

He admits learning a new language was difficult, as was being away from his family. But the opportunity to earn a college degree while playing soccer was a dream come true, he says. 

Since graduating, Lucas has continued to stay active in soccer. He moved to Rochester two years ago for a career opportunity and has spent time here coaching youth players. This summer, he plans to volunteer with Med City FC and intern at the National Sports Center in Blaine. 

“I see coaching as opportunity to not only do what I love, but to contribute to society and to be a leader,” says Lucas. “That’s how I was able to come here. Sports provided me that opportunity. So I want to give that to people.”

To master his craft, Lucas knows it will take more than knowledge of the game. For the past year, he has been taking courses through WSU-R’s downtown campus. Though classes are held in Winona, Lucas and his Rochester peers are able to connect with professors in real time through web conferencing.

The technology makes for a much different experience than what you might expect taking a traditional online course. You are part of the classroom, explains Lucas, and expected to participate in the discussion.

“Be prepared to put yourself out there,” he says. “You’re going to be challenged to think critically, and to expose your opinion and share what you think. The professors encourage that a lot. In all classes I’ve been in, you have to step up and share what you think, and you have to discuss and debate. 

While on campus, Lucas also works as a graduate assistant under Dr. Jeanine Gangeness, the school’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean for the School of Graduate Studies. He says the experience has opened him to people from every corner of the community.

“Coaching is not only on the field, but there other areas I will have to deal with,” explains Lucas,” [such as] leadership, communication and how to work with people from different cultures.”

This article is part of a collection of stories being published in partnership with Winona State University-Rochester.

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