UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

James Ocampo’s Futbol

Men’s Soccer Midfielder, James Ocampo, has the game of soccer in his blood; and if you watch his vociferous moves on the field, you will see that his domination of the game is in fact pumping through his veins. So, how does the game come so naturally for Ocampo? Well, to start, he is 20 years old and has been playing since he began walking at age two. His eighteen years of playing have been diverse and exciting. In the beginning of his soccer career, Ocampo was playing futbol (which is the Spanish, as well as the international word for soccer everywhere, except the US) on the streets of his native city, Medellín, in Colombia, where almost all of his uncles and cousins play, and some have even gone pro. At age ten he joined his first organized team, and since then he has been playing with teams all over–from Colombia to Miami, and leagues all over Greater Boston.

“Soccer is something that I have inside of me. I love the game, it relaxes me,” Ocampo stated in our interview.

Midfield is Ocampo’s preferred position, and the one he dominates. It is a difficult position, and as midfielder, he is the connection between offense and defense, and incorporates both into his game. In order to be a successful midfielder, you need to be fast and have strong reflexes, and Ocampo is strong in both areas. Ocampo stays fit for soccer by playing all year round. During the university off-season, he plays for local leagues, including indoor soccer during the winter. When asked what he does to keep his speed up for such a tiring game, he replied honestly, “I don’t, it’s a natural gift. I have pretty good lungs.” His endurance and durability on the field are proof of his athletic talent.

Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, although in the US it is less popular than in most countries. Ocampo feels as though soccer in the US does not have the same intensity as it does in his native Colombia, or the rest of the world, from South America to Eastern Europe. In Colombia, Ocampo commented that the reactions to the game can be compared to football or baseball fan patronage in the US.

Ocampo himself is very involved with the world of soccer. He is already paying close attention to the prospect teams for the 2006 World Cup. Of course, he wants Colombia to win, but points out that both Czech Republic and the Netherlands are strong candidates. In the arena of club soccer, Ocampo’s favorite South American and European teams are Club Atletico Nacional of his own Medellín, Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Barcelona of Spain and AC Milan of Italy. Some of his favorite pro players are Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho and Argentina’s Carlos Tevez, who recently won a gold medal in Athens.

Ocampo feels as though the UMB men’s soccer team could potentially make it to the playoffs this year. Over his last three years on the team, he has seen many improvements. “Three years ago we were a young team, now we are much stronger and almost everyone is experienced,” Ocampo stated about the team. The most difficult, yet rewarding, experience for the men’s soccer team this season was when they beat their toughest opponent, Plymouth State, three weeks ago. They were losing 2-0 at half time, and in the second half they picked up and scored three goals against their enemies, coming out on top with a 3-2 victory. Ocampo is junior studying management and will graduate in spring of 2006. In his spare time, he enjoys salsa dancing, watching football, baseball and basketball, as well as catching up on sleep, which as a full time athlete and student, he doesn’t always get much of. His favorite brand of soccer apparel is Kappa. Come check out the men’s soccer team and you will be in for a surprise, there are many talented players. You can definitely say that we are very lucky to have Ocampo here at UMB.