Josh Brown RECORD STAFF April 18, 2009
Kevin de Serpa saw the world from the soccer pitch.
The Kitchener native left town at 18 years old as a promising midfielder and used his speed and dribbling skills to forge a professional career spanning a decade. He scored goals in top leagues in Scotland, Brazil, Spain and Portugal among others.
Last year, after about four years on the pro circuit in Norway, he stepped away from the field.
“It was hard,” said de Serpa, 28, “I love playing soccer. But my motivation just wasn’t there.”
The cleats may be retired but de Serpa is still involved in the game. He is back in Kitchener and has recently launched Ginga Soccer Inc. with friend Bento, a former Brazilian player and coach. The company offers instruction, clinics, training and evaluations to soccer teams and players across the province. The duo have already accrued a steady client list of clubs in southwestern Ontario.
Ginga is a word used in soccer circles to describe the sway, flow and rhythm prevalent in the Brazilian game. Kind of like the X-factor that makes that brand of soccer special.
de Serpa saw it first hand as a youngster during a stint in the soccer-crazed country early in his career. But, as he began globe-trotting from pitch to pitch, he soon realized that every country has a Ginga.
“Every country has its own way to play,” he said. “Everywhere I went, it was different.”
And de Serpa is an observant lad. He has seen it all in the past decade as he bounced around from contract to contract at various levels. Dramatic goals, broken promises, rabid fans and back room politics. But most of all, he saw good soccer.
He has taken all the positive aspects from every stop and moulded it into his game. Now he wants to pass that knowledge on to kids and teens in Canada. It’s a luxury he didn’t have growing up.
“We teach kids techniques and styles they don’t learn here,” he said. “I’ve experienced life, different people, cultures, languages and countries. All kinds of things just because of soccer.”
There are plans down the road to expand and perhaps even run his own soccer facility. But for now, the former Resurrection Catholic Secondary student is having a blast on the other side of the ball. And youngsters seem to be benefitting from his effort.
“All I want to do is be around soccer.”