In his late teens, Thiago Rodrigues de Oliveira had a very detailed plan for how he wanted to build his adult professional life. The idea was to get a scholarship to a university in the United States, get a diploma in the sports field, get drafted by some MLS franchise, and create a trajectory on the football field of Major League Soccer.
For this reason, Timiringta’s miner left the normal life of an aspiring professional sportsman in Brazil: he declined Governor Valladares’s invitation to join the grassroots in the Democrat-class grassroots, a traditional team from within his state, and Stopped participating in the competition. State competitions.
The midfielder was sure he made the right decision when two higher education institutions offered him a long-awaited scholarship to study and play in American “soccer”.
What Thiago did not envisage would not be enough for him to obtain a visa for admission to the USA, for the approval of Missouri Valley College in 2015 and Peninsula College in 2016. And your skin color may have played a decisive role in that decision.
“I went to two consulates, one in São Paulo and the other in Rio de Janeiro. I tried tourist and student visas. Once, I was told that my relations in Brazil were not enough and they were not sure that I would . ” Not returning in the second, they said that I was not the type of student they wanted, ”he said in a telephone interview.
“I felt it was a bit weird because the interviews were very monosalic and dry. Then I talked to a friend, who has been living in the US for 30 years, and the first thing he asked me was if the interviewers were white.” Therefore, I realized that I was a victim of racism. “
In addition to the racial issue, Thiago also believes that he faced additional prejudice due to living in an area in Minas Gerais that is famous for the huge influx (legal and illegal) of migration to North America.
“Yes, there are many people who went to the United States to use tourist visas or use coyotes to cross the border of Mexico. But still, they still give visas to people in my area. It was different with me. They wanted to see the letter of recommendation that the varsity football team coach wrote. Everyone who listened to my report says that, in my case, the main thing was racism. “
“During the whole process of trying to get a visa, I just had a pleasant conversation and it was with the only black person who came with me. He was responsible for pre-interviewing and playing a lot with me. He even said. I should play his football. “, Recalls.
In total, Thiago spent three years going into college football. In 2017, when he left the race for a scholarship, he was already 21 years old and could no longer compete in the grassroots championship that would qualify him to pursue a professional career on the pitch.
“I have lost three years of my life. I can say that racism destroyed my dream of being a footballer. I am even more sad because my father, who was my biggest supporter, went to a university for his son. Dreamed of seeing. Only he died. I had cancer when I was going to America. “
After his father’s death and a delay of at least five years, Thiago entered higher education, but here in Brazil. He is currently studying physical education at a college in Minas Gerais. Football became a weekend holiday, an activity to practice with friends at the football and amateur championships in the area.
But despite everything living, he still dreams of going to the USA. After graduation, he intends to do some postgraduate study or work as a coach / physical trainer on some football team there to redo his “American dream”. It became a matter of honor.
“Blog du Rafael Rees” contacted the United States embassy in Brazil last Tuesday and sent an email to the agency’s press office asking for clarification about the complaint made by the student, along with all the history and documentation of Thiago.
However, at the time of publication of this report, no agency associated with the US government has responded to this request.