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The Boy From Brazil
Luis Fernando Llosa
November 06, 2006
A New England soccer phenom contemplates a move home and a pro career
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November 06, 2006

The Boy From Brazil

A New England soccer phenom contemplates a move home and a pro career

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NANTUCKET HIGH

Nantucket, Mass.

SOMETIMES IT'S hard to tell if Caio Correa is more obsessed with technology or soccer. The Nantucket (Mass.) High sophomore midfielder spends eight to 10 hours each week analyzing European matches and highlight clips of world-class players like Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, which he downloads from YouTube.com and metacafe.com. Then, he says, "I film myself practicing their moves with the webcam on my laptop in the basement."

But Correa is no nerdy wannabe. His footwork and speed have made the him the most feared high school player in Massachusetts; he's the state's top scorer with 32 goals and 23 assists. Yet what really sets Correa apart, says Nantucket coach Rich Brannigan, is the lanky Brazilian's maturity and playmaking. "He gets the team involved and makes everybody around him better."

Last summer Correa, who is 5'10" and 140 pounds, played in Nantucket's adult league against mostly foreign-born men who work as cooks and landscapers on the island. Though the league is highly competitive, Correa led it in scoring (29 goals) and was voted player of the year. Brannigan has fielded inquiries about Correa from Division I schools including Notre Dame and St. John's.

Correa developed his ball-handling skills in Rio de Janeiro, where he lived until his family moved to Nantucket when he was 10. His first coach was his father, Luis, who played eight years of pro soccer in Brazil against stars like national team midfielder Zico. "When I was six, my dad would take me to the beach to play futev´┐Żlei," says Correa, who describes the homegrown sport as a hybrid of soccer and beach volleyball.

The Correas have worked hard to carve out a comfortable life for their two sons in Nantucket. Luis co-owns a house painting company, and Nelma, Caio's mom, cleans houses. But Nantucket High stands to lose its playmaker at season's end. Luis is taking Caio back to Brazil in December to try out with the 18-to-20-year-old developmental squad of Voltaco, a Division I state team that's a feeder squad for Brazil's elite pro teams. "If I do well there, one of the top teams could sign me for millions," he says. "That's my dream. To follow in my dad's footsteps." -- Luis Fernando Llosa

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