Familiar sport brings exchange student closer to home

Tara Grace • Editor-in-Chief

Andrea Romani might be new to the country, but he is certainly not new to the game of soccer.

Romani is an all-year foreign exchange student from Italy who is getting involved in the athletic scheme of Hayes by joining the boys varsity soccer team.

“I wanted to try American soccer because I think it’s a good way to get involved and make friends,” Romani said.

Romani has been playing soccer for eight years in Italy and wanted to experience what American soccer was like.

According to Romani, the two main differences between Italian and American soccer were the coach and the way the team is formed.

“A lot of foreign schools don’t have high school teams, they just play with their city,” Varsity coach Nate Weakland said.

Romani wanted to obtain an idea of what it was like to play for a high school team where he sees his teammates every day.

Another difference Romani has noticed is the coaching style between his Italian coach and Weakland.

“The coach is a bit more hard with the player, not so polite.” Romani said.

Weakland has had his fair share of coaching foreign exchange students with Sidney Meyer two years ago, and Rodolfo three years ago.

Weakland claims that the most difficult part of coaching a foreign exchange student is the language barrier that exists.

“Some of the terms are different. You’ve got to figure out ways to communicate with them, so that makes it a little difficult,” Weakland said.

According to Romani, it is sometimes hard to figure out what the boys are saying due to the way they talk very fast on the field and the short sayings they use.

Overall, Weakland believes that Romani is a great asset to their team and hopes that he will help achieve the soccer team’s goals.

“He is a great winger for us,” Weakland said. “He is definitely the guy that can come over for us and be a starter and have a pretty big impact.”

The boys soccer team as a whole is hoping to achieve the top half of the OCC conference play and hopefully make it to district final at the end of the season. ϖ