Spanish athlete adjusts to play in the U.S.

Sophomore Jaime Miralles plays ina game at Virtue Feild Oct. 24 against UMass-Lowell.  Miralles is an international athlete from Spain.
[/media-credit] Sophomore Jaime Miralles plays ina game at Virtue Feild Oct. 24 against UMass-Lowell. Miralles is an international athlete from Spain.

Adjusting to life in a new country is never easy.

Men’s varsity soccer midfielder sophomore Jaime Miralles is working hard on making his international transition a smooth one.  Miralles arrived at UVM after men’s soccer head coach Jesse Cormier scouted him from the Villarreal Fútbol Academy in Spain.

“When I came from Spain, I was in a cultural shock,” Miralles said. “Many things are different, starting from dining schedules and the weather.”Miralles also pointed out some differences in the way soccer is played in Spain and in the United States.  “The main difference is that [in Spain] we pay more attention to the ball rather than physicality,” Miralles said. “Here it’s more physical and more direct.”

Miralles has his own ideas about the game.

“I think the best system would be a mix between these styles: a physical team that is able to pass the ball and create opportunities,” he said

Cormier played a key role in bringing Miralles to UVM, and he still thinks highly of the sophomore, he said.

“Jaime has been a very good addition to the squad as a player, the campus as a student, and the community as person and mentor,” Cormier said. “He is an exemplary role model and key member of our team.”

When Miralles announced his commitment to UVM Cormier said “Jaime will bring some dynamic qualities and ideas to our team and be a nice addition to our young attack. We feel he can be a good influence for us in the final third,” according to UVM athletics.

Miralles scored his first goal for the Catamounts this past season against the University of Portland Sept. 6, only two days after playing Oregon State University as a part of the Nike Portland Invitational tournament.  Miralles has been a consistent member of the team so far this season, having played in 16 of the team’s games and starting for 13 of them, according to UVM athletics.

Through his 16 games this season, Miralles has earned one goal and one assist for a total of three points. Miralles said one of the other main differences between soccer at the Villarreal Fútbol Academy and UVM is the season length.

He prefers the Spanish season.

During his days at Villarreal, the season started in August and ended in June, contrary to the three-month seasons here.  “You don’t have time to think about you are doing wrong,” Miralles said. “I think the intense short seasons may hinder the development of the player.”  

Miralles said one of the main reasons he chose to play college soccer in America was that it allows him to earn a degree while still playing the game. “In Spain, there isn’t this culture of universities. You either go professional, or you go to study,” Miralles said. “For those who are trying to reach a professional level but also explore with a degree, this is the best option.”

Miralles also noticed differences in housing.  “It’s pretty expensive here for the quality of the rooms or apartments you can find,” he  said. “I think it’s another example of the cultural differences we’re talking about. Students here get independent by going to school, which does not really happen in Spain.”

Men’s soccer will be in action for the first round of the America East Tournament Saturday, Nov. 7.