PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Florida Roots semi-pro soccer team got it’s name because most of their players are from Florida, but not all.
In fact, one of their players, Agustin Vivas, is from Argentina and living out his dream of playing in the U.S.
“When I’m struggling, when I’m sad, when I’m not good with myself, when I’m bored, I get a ball and I’m happy,” Vivas said.
As a boy, he dreamed of coming to the United States to play the game of soccer, but he said he didn’t have enough courage to do it when he was younger, so he’s doing it now at the age of 25.
“I started since I was very young, in my country, everyone starts playing at five or six years old. It’s the main sport in Argentina. We all love it, we have the same passion,” Vivas said.
Vivas plays for Governor State University near Chicago during the school year and is playing for the Roots for the summer.
Vivas said he didn’t know what to expect when he got the call from Coach Jonah Hammond about playing for the Roots squad, but as soon as he got to Panama City, he realized it was much more than just a chance to play the sport over the summer months.
“I enjoy every afternoon I have with them, playing on this field, having dinner afterwards or after a game or enjoying the locker room everything so, they are my summer family for now and I hope so for many years more,” Vivas said.
He said the American style of play took a little bit of getting used to.
“The timing is different you know the possession of the ball, they use less amount of possession of the ball, they go straight from defense to striking. Sometimes they don’t do the same transition in our country we used to have the ball a little more and use the time to pace it off,” Vivas said.
Vivas’s time with the Roots is coming to a close this week when the season ends, but he plans on being back for more summers to come if they will have him.
He hopes that even one day he could come back and even work for the club.
“Give back everything they are giving us right now and I think this city has a lot to develop, it has a great potential, it’s a great place and I’m sure soccer here is gonna be a big boom in a couple years,” Vivas said.
The Roots play their last home game of the season on Thursday night at the Panama City Beach Sports Complex.