Gustavo handles the soccer ball like a Ferrari handles asphalt: with control. Still, they both have Flash and Grace at the same time.
Brazil is a nation proud of its rich history of soccer domination. At 13, Gustavo Ferrari experienced this while playing for the football club São Paulo FC youth team for two years in Brazil, sharing the pitch with several players from the Brazilian national team. Among them was Antony Matheus dos Santos, who plays for Ajax, and Igor Gomes, who plays for São Paulo FC.
Fast forward to his fourth game as Gator, Ferrari teammates congratulated him as he ran around the pitch after recording a hat trick. He has had one of the best seasons of any player in the country which could help him rejoin his former teammates as a professional soccer player someday.
His parents are originally from Brazil, but he has lived in Canada most of his life. His parents have moved to Canada since his father had the opportunity to coach soccer. Gustavo transferred to SF State this fall from Indiana University East.
“When I first got here I thought it was very cold,” said Ferrari. “I don’t know why I just thought California was super hot. It’s completely different from where I was in Indiana. The traffic here is way crazier. But I really like the ease with it. which transport is here.
Ferrari, a stock forward, arrived in San Francisco in July to prepare for the preseason with his new team. Most of the squad are new, with lots of freshmen, transfers and just two senior players. But Ferrari made an instant impact on their new teammates, arriving on the pitch before everyone else and staying after everyone else left to take more shots.
“Someone with such a work ethic has an immediate impact on the culture of the team,” said goalkeeper Erik Ornelas. “It helps everyone recognize, okay this guy is playing and standing at a high level, we all have to match that because we don’t want to let ourselves down.”
For the week of September 6-12, Ferrari was named CCAA Men’s Soccer Player Player of the week, after scoring twice and assisting a goal in a 3-0 win over the Academy of Art. An alligator hasn’t won the award since 2007.
He followed it up with a hat trick in his fourth game of the season, scoring five goals in two games, and was once again nominated for the award.
The first of Ferrari’s three goals came in the fifteenth minute. He passed it to teammate Julio Gonzalez Ponce, who put it in the box to Ferrari, who rigged the shot, then transferred the ball to his left side while attacking a defender. This created a space to bury the ball in the net with sophisticated footwork.
For his second goal, he stole a bad pass from the opponent and dribbled between two defenders to score from a difficult angle. His last goal was knocked off the post and into the net after slipping past a defender and shooting him while surrounded by three others.
“I feel like once he got that second it had to happen,” said defenseman Justin Wolfe. “All three goals were really successful, and I think that really shows his quality.”
Among all NCAA Division II, which consists of more than 210 football schools, Ferrari are currently fifth in goals and points. A player gets two points for each goal scored and one point for each assist in the statistics sheet.
Its head coach, Pedro Osorio, is also from Brazil. He said Ferrari is a team-oriented player who excels at involving everyone.
“Gustavo is a very technical football player with a high IQ so he seeks to use his teammates to break the opponent,” said Osorio. “He’s not a type of player who is going to get the ball back and just use his speed and skill to dribble through three or four guys, he’s a type of player who is always looking for his teammates.
Ferrari is currently first in the California Collegiate Athletic Association in goals scored, with nine, and fourth in assists, with four. As a result, he leads the conference with a total of points with 22. The players with the second and third points of the conference have 16 and 14 respectively.
Ferrari loves the competitiveness of the game and the relationships built along the way. It is also a way of making him forget about other urgent tasks, such as managing his school work. He graduated in criminal justice in his freshman year and his backup plan is to go to law school if he doesn’t become a professional athlete.
“Whenever you step onto the pitch, it doesn’t matter if your best friends [are] in the other team, you’re still going to go 100% and you’re still going to be friends after the game, ”he said. “I let go of all my other problems that I have and just focus on that.”
The Gators started the season 4-1 but have three losses and one draw in their last four games.
They are looking to get back to the winning column on Friday against Cal State San Bernardino. Their next home game is Thursday, October 14 against Cal State Monterey Bay.