SENIOR ELISA BRITO HAS SEEN HER FAIR SHARE of challenges and opportunities in her last twenty-two years. Just a few weeks ago, Elisa received the birthday gift of a lifetime: the chance to become a professional soccer player.
Elisa’s journey to OKWU is incredible in itself. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she came to the States to begin her collegiate soccer career. After playing for three years at the university level, Elisa signed with the Lady Eagles and transferred to Oklahoma Wesleyan for her senior season. Attending OKWU, however, was not in Elisa’s original plan. She simply had agreed to accompany a couple of her friends to their college visit in Bartlesville. What Elisa could not foresee was that Bartlesville would become her home for the year ahead.
“At first, I was not interested in going to school at OKWU . . . But when I got there, there was just something about the place that changed my mind. I felt that [it was] where God wanted me. Soccer was what brought me here. I believed in the project and where they wanted to take the program, so I wanted to be part of the beginning of something special. I believe Coach Pika will put OKWU women’s soccer higher on the map, and when that happens I want to look back and be happy that I believed in it in the beginning, and that I was a part of something great.”
Soccer was what brought me here. I believed in the project and where they wanted to take the program, so I wanted to be part of the beginning of something special.” – Elisa Brito
Elisa and the Lady Eagles hold a long list of accomplishments from their Fall 2013 season, including a regular season MCAC Conference Title, as well as a 2nd place finish in the MCAC Conference Tournament.
This spring, as Elisa’s collegiate eligibility has expired, she was contacted by FC Kansas City (FCKC) in order to train with the team in the upcoming months. Playing professionally has always been her dream, but Elisa is careful to give credit where credit is due: “This is a true blessing. This is God’s call in my life and I’m just extremely thankful for the ability that was given to me and for being able to glorify Him while representing my family and everyone who has supported me. It is not an easy journey, but with faith, hard work, and patience, things fall into place.”
Because she missed FCKC’s pre-season, she has left for Kansas City in order to begin fitness and strength training. Elisa will continue to prepare physically as well as mentally, as she tries to become accustomed to a new formation, new teammates, new coaches, and a new level of competition. Although she is excited to get started, Elisa realizes that the magnitude of this adjustment will require both time and patience.
FCKC’s plan for Elisa is as follows: she will remain in Kansas City for several months, training with the team and preparing for future opportunities. In July, there will be potential for Elisa to discuss other contract offers, either to stay with FCKC or to transfer to another team, such as one of the women’s professional teams in Europe or Australia. In the long-term, she is still unsure as to what the future will hold, and what the best offer will be, but until July, she will be with FC Kansas City.
ALTHOUGH ELISA HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE IN PROFESSIONAL SOCCER, she has not forgotten her commitment to the receiving a college education. She will graduate in December of 2014 with a degree in Communications. “I’ll do some directed studies and online classes . . .The school has been awesome in helping me to pursue my dream and still being able to graduate.” Elisa was quick to mention how flexible and understanding her professors have been through the whole process.
When looking back at her year at Oklahoma Wesleyan, a couple of things stand out to Elisa as being above and beyond her initial expectations. In addition to the caring professors, the first thing that made Elisa love OKWU was Coach Pika and the soccer program. “I’m grateful for everything the program has done for me and I wish I had transferred to OKWU before,” Brito stated. “Another thing that kept me at OKWU was definitely the friends that I made.” She is confident that the friendships she formed in her short time as an Eagle will be with her for a lifetime.
Elisa is fully aware that she did not make it this far in her own strength. She was quick to thank those who have faithfully supported her throughout her career. First, Elisa gives all the glory to God for giving her the health and ability to play the game she loves. Playing her best soccer to the glory of God has always been her primary goal. Secondly, Elisa thanks her family and friends for their constant support and motivation, even when she lost sight of the goal. “This has not been an easy journey, and it never will be easy. My family and friends . . . have kept me going. They have shared my dreams with me.”
“Her friendship is a blessing in my life and her love for people is like nothing I have ever seen.” – Bristol Clark, teammate
Oklahoma Wesleyan is proud to say that Elisa Brito was an integral part of the Lady Eagles Women’s Soccer program during the 2013 season. Her passion for Christ and her love for the game are representative of the God she serves. Teammate Bristol Clark says it this way: “[Elisa is] a brilliant soccer player. Probably the best player I have ever had the privilege of playing next to. [She’s] also an incredible woman of God. She is truly an inspiration and I look up to her so much. Her constant encouragement and support is unlike any person I know. Her friendship is a blessing in my life and her love for people is like nothing I have ever seen.”
The OKWU community congratulates Elisa Brito on her faithful obedience to God and on receiving the fruits of her perseverance.