Senior midfielder Felipe Libreros has taken a long road to the University of Virginia. He grew up in Colombia before moving to the United States to attend college at the University of South Florida. He transferred to UVa following his sophomore season and has provided a big boost to the Cavalier team. This year Libreros has played in all 14 games, starting eight at midfield. He owns a goal and three assists while stepping up as a key contributor to the Virginia lineup. He is the focus of this installment of Off the Pitch.
Talk about your soccer background.
Libreros: I've been playing soccer since I can recall. I grew up in Cali, Colombia. I played on numerous teams then when I graduated from college I got recruited to come here [to the United States] by a team in Florida and I played there two years before I transferred here for my third and fourth year.
What prompted you to come to the United States?
Libreros: I came after I graduated from high school, so I didn't go to high school here at all. It was about education. My parents were pretty strict when it came to education. It was a great opportunity to get an education and play at a higher level. I went to a bilingual high school so I knew pretty basic English but coming here helped a lot. Before I enrolled in college I had to take writing prep classes. That helped me a lot. It was either that or not playing for another year and I wanted to play.
What drew you to Virginia?
Libreros: I was already looking to transfer to a different school when the Virginia opportunity came up. It was my first option. First of all, the academics are amazing. The program is good. The coaching staff is amazing and the players are amazing. Everything worked out.
What are you majoring in at UVa?
Libreros: I'm a Latin American studies major and a sociology minor.
What is something unique that most people don't know about you?
Libreros: I'm ranked in the top-100 in playing FIFA online in the world. I have a blister on my thumb from playing so much. I play five hours a day on the weekends. I only play one or two hours a day during the week. Nobody on the team likes to play me because I beat them by so much. I play random people all over the world.
What is your favorite team and player on FIFA?
Libreros: My team is Real Madrid and my favorite player is Ronaldo.
Artist: Don Omar
Sport (outside of soccer): Football - even though I haven't played it ever.
Professional Sports Team: Real Madrid
Spot on Grounds: The Pav
TV Show: Entourage