Midfielder Andre Berenzon says he started playing soccer when he started walking. His first gift was a soccer ball that he began kicking around the house as a young child; by the age of ten, he joined his first organized soccer team. Growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Berenzon says the absence of soccer fields led him into the school gym, where indoor “futbol” games thrived. Everyday he went to school and was able to play in games that allowed him to hone his skills and practice the sport that so clearly defined his childhood. “In South America, (soccer) is more like a religion. We have a passion for the game. It’s not only about the sport itself.”
Once out of school, he eventually transitioned to outdoor soccer, which he notes is “the biggest, most played type of soccer.” But, after an opportunity to travel to the U.S. to play indoor soccer presented itself, he says he gladly returned to his roots. “I want to be playing in the indoor league from now on. I don’t see myself going back to outdoor.”
Berenzon says he prefers indoor soccer because it’s more dynamic. “There’s a lot more action, you’re in contact with the ball more often, and there are a lot more goal-scoring opportunities…that’s the most exciting part of the game.”
Soccer is quickly growing in the United States and has become one of the most played sports by children. Berenzon attributes the growth in popularity to the fact that “you don’t need equipment. You don’t need anything beside space and the soccer ball.” Berenzon, who himself began playing at a young age, believes this early exposure is positive because there are many valuable lessons to be learned from the game. “It taught me a lot of respect. It’s a very humbling experience.”
After returning from an ACL injury and recently signing a new two-year contract with the Syracuse Silver Knights, Berenzon is eager to begin the upcoming season and contribute to the team. When the season begins, lucky number seven can be seen on the field demonstrating his ball-handling skills. Off the field, these skills can be seen in various YouTube videos filmed in the Knights’ locker room.
The Syracuse Silver Knights kick-off the season when they host the Chicago Soul on November 2, at the Onondaga County War Memorial.