How Grace Women’s Soccer Player Flavia Villaca de Faria Played Professional Soccer During Her Time in Hungary, College Study Abroad Programs
Flavia V. de Faria is going places. She breaks records, travels all over the world, and grabs on to opportunities that don’t come twice. From Brazil to Grace College to Hungary, Flavia’s journey is full of going to new places. She kicked off her adventure at Grace College but she didn’t stop there.
Flavia grew up in a small city in Brazil. She was raised in a Christian home where she was taught to get out of her comfort zone and serve God wherever she was called–an anthem that would ring true many times throughout her life. In Brazil, Faria played for Montverde Academy where she led the team to be named the NSCAA number one high school girls soccer team in 2015. After playing for Montverde Academy, she had the opportunity to come to the U.S. to continue her soccer career.
At the young age of 15, she began playing American soccer at an NCAA D2 college in Alabama. After a year, Flavia decided to transfer to Grace where she was immediately offered a place on the team by Coach Voss.
Voss became a mentor to Flavia both on and off the pitch. Flavia credits her ability to make it through the quick transition to Voss’s personalized guidance, the soccer team’s weekly Bible study, and her kind host family. One thing was certain: Flavia was not alone as she adjusted to a new place.
While at Grace, Flavia experienced great success on the pitch. She led the team in the first 20-win season in the program’s history, and in her junior year, the team also won the Crossroads League Championship.
The spring semester of Flavia’s senior year, the chance-of-a-lifetime came her way.
Flavia was sought out to be the first student for Grace College Study Abroad Programs in Budapest, Hungary at Károli Gáspár University to pursue a minor in International Communication–the perfect addition to her Communication major. In the transition to Hungary, soccer wasn’t exactly top-of-mind for Flavia. But God had plans to use her life-long dream to play professional ball.
Soon after she arrived at Károli, she noticed that there was a club team for men’s soccer and asked around about opportunities for women’s soccer. She learned that there was a try-out that day. Although it didn’t work out for her to play with that team, the coach connected her with another team, ETO FC Győr. This time, she made the try-out and landed a starting spot in the top division of professional Hungarian soccer. There, she applied the principles that Voss instilled in her and was a light to her teammates, demonstrating the ways of Grace through her sportsmanship, respect, and hard work on and off the field.
“I wasn’t expecting to go to Hungary to play soccer,” Flavia said, “When I had the chance to play soccer at the professional level and feel the pitch of the stadiums that seat thousands of people, I realized that God can do anything for us.”
Flavia had the chance to play in the 15,600-seat ETO Park in Győr, Hungary and started in six of the nine matches she was available to play. She finished the season securing two goals and four assists, helping the team finish sixth in the standings for the season.
But the soccer season wasn’t the only buzz of her time in Europe. She had the opportunity to travel to surrounding countries including Slovakia, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, and several others.
“I was hungry for new adventures,” Flavia laughed.
But these adventures didn’t come without difficulty. Flavia faced many challenges navigating a foreign country. She had to figure out the public transportation–riding for as long as 2 hours to get to soccer practices. And she stumbled through language barriers when she ventured off the predominantly English-speaking campus. Amidst the trials, Flavia felt confident in God’s presence as she came and went.
Even now, Flavia is continuing to go places. She recently accepted a job as a Communication and Public Relations Specialist in New Hampshire at CRH, a global company with around 26,000 employees.1 As she trusted God when he brought her to Grace, she trusts him now in His plans — wherever it is He would have her go.
Are you an athlete like Flavia? Are you an international student wanting to study in America? We have more information on Grace athletics and international enrollment available to you. If you are a student who is itching to study abroad, consider our exchange program or our International Communication minor which sets you up to study abroad in Hungary at Károli University, the largest Protestant college in Hungary.
If you haven’t already, go back and read “The Coming: How Virág Zábó came from Hungary to study in the U.S. and took her impressive resume to the next level.”