From France to Emerson: Men’s soccer recruit travels internationally to find his place in world of sport

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Photo: Darius Boamah

Coming fresh off the French soccer scene, Sophomore Hugo Berville looks forward to the routine of playing soccer at Emerson.

By Leo Kagan, Staff Writer

The Emerson men’s soccer team added a new international player to its roster, recruiting Sophomore midfielder Hugo Berville from Villejuif, France ahead of the 2022 season. 

With 11 players being welcomed into the program, there are plenty of new faces but only one player from overseas. Berville will start his college career with the Lions, continuing his passion for the sport he started at age 7. 

He grew up playing for his local club, Paris 13 Atletico, with the goal of joining a French soccer academy to develop his skills and ascend the ranks of French soccer to the professional level. Unfortunately, the invitation Berville dreamed of never came. Many in his situation would be crushed, but today, he sees it as a positive.

“A lot of people are in these academies, but only a few go professional,” he said. “All of these players have hope, and they only focus on the goal that is being pro… all the players that don’t get pro usually don’t have any backups, and it’s a real shame.”

“They focused only on football, and left everything else,” he continued. “When you do, you have that hope to be professional. When everything all falls down, you’re in a pretty bad position.” 

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He noted that the infatuation with the sport frequently becomes a problem for the majority of young academy players who don’t turn pro, left without a backup plan for their future. Berville, however, is determined to be different.

“The thing that I’ve always wanted to do is play the sport I love every day and still have that education in case,” he said. “Even if I love football more than anything, I could not only focus myself on one thing and leave everything else on the side.”

His passion for education was one of the driving factors behind his commitment to Emerson. Majoring in sports communications, Berville says he’s looking forward to expanding his knowledge and continuing to hold a role in the industry, even if it’s not as a professional athlete.  

“I’m really looking forward to learning as much as possible in the sports industry, because I don’t know where I’ll be in five years,” he said. “Whatever I do, I want to be in this industry.” 

Though he has high ambitions for his education, Berville has by no means given up on his dreams of playing high-level soccer. He’s excited to join Emerson’s squad, which went 3-11-2 last season, and aims to kick the level of competition up a notch this year. 

Head coach Daniel Toulson, now in his second year behind the bench, remarked that Berville will have an opportunity to play a role in the Lions’ push towards a higher level of play. 

“We don’t set too many outcome goals,” said Toulson. “We’re really focused on having a player-led culture. We want a driven group that leads themselves, and that’s an area where Hugo can continue to contribute and learn.”

Berville is excited to contribute to a motivated Lions squad and also excited to continue developing his game this season through a consistent daily routine. 

“Having a rhythm, a routine everyday… [is] what I’ve been dreaming about these past few months,” he said. “I want to be the best version of myself.”