The SIMA Program is proud to announce that we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary. To celebrate the momentous occasion we will be doing a feature article on a SIMA Alumnus from each graduating SIMA class to show the many different pathways that have been taken through the SIMA program. Since this is the first, we begin with the Class of 2014!
Born in San Sebastiao do Paraiso, a Brazilian municipality located southwest of the state of Minas Gerais , Rodrigo Zampieri began to take his first steps in the world of football alongside his childhood friends and brother Renan. In a football hungry country, Rodrigo fell into the culture of the sport of his country while also keeping his family's priority in mind. According to Rodrigo "education came before anything else" for his family especially when it came to their future. Thankfully for Rodrigo, a fateful event would help combine both his academic driven life along with his love for football.
In 2010, a former Montverde Academy coach made his way to Sao Sebastiao do Paraiso and scouted Rodrigo's older brother Renan to make his way to Florida to join the 2010 Boys Varsity National Championship squad. Back home in Brazil, Rodrigo kept tabs on his brother and the success of the program both academically and athletically by asking as much as he could about it. As he waited patiently in Brazil and saw how his brother began to generate interest from major American colleges, more fuel was added to the fire of joining the program. Through the backing of his friend Joao's father, who had seen what Montverde Academy had done for his son both academically and athletically and the success of Renan's two years in the program, Rodrigo began to pack his bags to make his way to Florida. And as one Zampieri began his journey to college, the other began his journey at Montverde.
In 2012, with a desire to come and experience what his brother had for two years, Rodrigo arrived to Montverde Academy as a Junior. Upon his arrival, he saw something different in the program that he had not seen before. "SIMA was the highest level of play that I had ever seen" stated Zampieri. "I fell in love with the competitiveness and great education that was being offered to me." Between early morning sessions, a full schedule of classes, training after school, and studying after dinner, the many phone calls with his brother Renan then began to make much more sense. While he was in love with what he saw, it did take him a bit to adjust to the student-athlete balance. "The first year I was here, it was definitely a struggle. It took me a couple of months to understand how to manage everything academically, athletically, and socially." As the program began to transition from one Varsity High School team to the SIMA program, the competition and expectations grew. Through his favorite SIMA Values of Integrity and Accountability he was able to find his feet and Rodrigo was off and running.
In 2013 as a Senior at Montverde Academy, Rodrigo continued to excel as a student-athlete and began to generate interest from various colleges for both academics and athletics. He became a Senior Prefect while also winning 2 HS National Championships for Montverde Academy. For him, he was ready to take the next step looking at life after football. "Soccer has always been a pathway for my education." Zampieri stated with a smirk. Just as when he made his way to MVA, he wanted to find the best place for him both academically and athletically. After graduating from Montverde Academy, Rodrigo began his collegiate experience at Virginia Tech. In his 4 years with the Hokies he played 3 seasons and redshirted his Sophomore Year due to injury. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Industrial Engineering (3.89 GPA) but his playing career and academic career did not stop there. Following his graduation from Virginia Tech in 2017 he attended IUPUI to pursue his Master's in Mechanical Engineering and was able to play in 18 matches. He was third among the Jaguars' field players with 1,537 minutes played. Rodrigo was also named named to IUPUI's Academic Advisor's List both semesters while maintaining a 3.85 GPA.
Following his graduation from IUPUI , Rodrigo is now a Consulting Engineer with a material handling automation company called Bastian Solutions and has been there for over 3 years. He has since moved back to his native Brazil following his studies in the US!
Rodrigo states that his experiences from the SIMA Program helped prepare him both on and off the field and has helped his career by understanding the importance of pulling your own weight and having integrity for what you do.
He wishes that all the current and future players of the SIMA Program take advantage of everything they have and he hopes to see how much the program has grown very soon!