#FocusImmigration: Student Athlete Profile: Rafael Terci

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Published April 9, 2019
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The Montclarion

Rafael Terci is a senior captain on the Montclair State University men’s soccer team. When he was one and a half years old, he and his family immigrated from Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Terci’s father came to Newark, New Jersey a couple months before the big move to secure a job opportunity at an auto body shop. At the time, Newark had a very large Portuguese and Brazilian community, which made the transition very easy for the Tercis. As of now, only Terci’s immediate family lives in the United States while all of his extended family still lives in Brazil.

The Terci family uses Portuguese as their household language. Due to language barriers, Terci helps his parents with small things, such as dealing with hospital paper work or calling their cable company. When the young Terci was still learning both languages, he had some trouble.

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Terci and his family celebrate the 2002 Brazil World Cup win.
Photo courtesy of Rafael Terci

“Growing up, I would mix up my words,” Terci said. “I would say a sentence and it would be half Portuguese and half English.”

Other than learning two languages, the transition to America was easy for Terci. Since he has his green card, he does not have any problems when applying for jobs or registering for school unlike some of his friends.

Coming from the Brazilian culture, soccer is Terci’s passion and one love.

“It’s the reason why I play,” Terci said.

He started playing the game at four years old and competed for many elite club teams during his youth. While in high school and competing for the New York Red Bulls Academy, Terci committed to play soccer for Stony Brook University on an athletic scholarship.

However, there was a switch of plans and he withdrew his commitment at Stony Brook to play soccer at Montclair State in 2015. Terci reasoned that he wanted to be closer to home and joined Montclair State because his older brother, Lucas, was on the team.

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Rafael Terci plays in a 2018 match against Rowan University.
Kylie Mocarski | The Montclarion

During his time at Montclair State, Terci led his team to two New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) championships and the Elite Eight in the Division III National Championship Tournament. He was named First Team South Atlantic All-Region and First Team All-NJAC.

Now that Terci’s college career is over, he plays for FC Copa, a National Premier Soccer League semi-professional team. He hopes to use this time to train in order to become a professional soccer player.

While preparing diligently for soccer, he is in the process of becoming a U.S. Citizen. In August, he plans on going back to Brazil for his cousin’s wedding. The beloved Brazilian game of soccer has guided Terci’s life to where he is now. A career in soccer is what the 22-year-old dreams of.

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