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10 Years of SIMA: Joao Domenici

By SIMA, 04/22/24, 8:45PM EDT


Class of 2021 is coming your way with a brand new 10 Years of SIMA Spotlight! Check out Joao's story!

The Roots: Student of the Game

Joao Domenici has had a ball at his feet since the day he was born. Growing up in his native Sao Paulo, Brazil every little boy wanted to be a professional footballer and Joao’s goal was just that. While the professional game was the final destination, Joao  but wanted to go to school and play which in Brazil wasn’t an option. Many times he saw the struggle of having to pick either education or athletics. He and his family felt that there had to be more options available and that’s when the connected with 2SV. Through 2SV, Joao saw a lot of people were coming to Montverde Academy and was instantly drawn to it.  Seeing the college placement aspect and the overall project is what inticed him to go. After a bit of extensive research about MVA, his alumni friends influence, and noticing the growth of football in the United States, Joao looked to join in his Junior Year of High School

Soccer and School in America

“I realized didn’t know anything about work ethic and discipline” were the words that Joao said when he first began in the SIMA program saying that SIMA taught everything. Seeing the level he was surprised and he also felt that the small details mattered such as body language, coming off jogging, and saying hi to coaches. Joao did well adjusting to MVA through his previous schooling experiences in Brazil, but said he did  struggled a bit with the time management of the boarding experience. “Good grades make me play” was the mentality that he took with him through his two years in the program. With his hard work on and off the field, in his Senior Year Joao generated interest from a couple of schools but faced the recruiting struggles of the pandemic. Joao was focused on going to a college where he could play from the beginning. With the help of 2SV, Hanover College came and spoke with Coach Varnado about Joao. The Hanover coach told him he would serve important role from the beginning. “I felt good things from the coaching staff, they connected with my family and myself on a personal level.” The choice then became easy as Joao made his way up to Indiana. 

College: The Good vs the Bad

The transition to college was simple with the structure SIMA provided. “There was no room for comfort” which is just how he liked it. Joao felt the values instilled through the SIMA program of responsibility and accountability were big factors in the college game. Off the field, he felt the freedom in Montverde was not the same as in college and struggled with the time management of scheduling. He was relieved when he felt a similar attitude from the professors that were always in favor of seeing the students succeed just as he had back in Montverde. The best time he’s felt so far has been on the field. He describes the first year was a special one, as he played in every game for the Panthers. In 2021,  the Panthers played the National Tournament for the third time in their program’s history but that is not all.  Domenici scored  the first goal of the programs history in the national tournament. In his freshman year, to top things off, the Panthers made the Sweet 16.  In 2022,  there was a bit of a rebuild  as 8 starters had moved on. The coaching staff looked to Joao and had become a leader as a sophomore. Again he played every game, but would go on to lose in the conference finals on PKs. Domenici won All Conference, All Region,  and All Tournament Team while also being Wanted to go to a college where he could play from the beginning the conference tournament’s leading scorer. Joao even played through a messed up shoulder and took this past fall season as Redshirt season due to surgery. Thankfully he is now back into training for this spring season.  

Field of Study


Currently, Joao is studying Economics and after attending grad school  would maybe attend law school in the future. 

Final Remarks

Joao attributes resilience, discipline, and responsibility as some of his favorite SIMA Values that he also uses in his daily life


"The SIMA Program has helped especially in recognizing that the small details were the difference."