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“I’m happy here:” UWM Panthers soccer team gets some help from players new to America

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MILWAUKEE -- Americans consider this to be football season, but this is also the futbol season for a group of college players who have found their way to America.

International invasions can be a big deal. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, there's a new fab four.

UW-Milwaukee soccer fab four

UW-Milwaukee soccer fab four

"I really, really enjoy it. The lads have all made me feel welcome. It's like a big happy family really," Josh Kaye, UWM Panthers freshman defender said.

Kaye is from England.

Matthias Binder is a freshman midfielder from Austria.

Francesco Saporito is a freshman midfielder from Canada.

And Tinashe Marowa is a freshman forward from New Zealand.

UW-Milwaukee soccer

UW-Milwaukee soccer -- Francesco Saporito, Matthias Binder, Josh Kaye, Tinashe Marowa

These guys are hitting all the right notes. Kaye is a defender, and the other three are among the top four scorers on the squad this season.

"That's the beauty about the sport of soccer. It's a world sport. You can't say that about several other sports, and it's a university, academic environment where you want international people here," Kris Keldermann, UWM Panthers head coach said.

Tinashe Marowa

Tinashe Marowa

"At first when I came here I was nervous. Like, the first couple of weeks, it was nervous. But then the boys -- they are very nice lads and they're all really nice. They have been all nice to each other and stuff," Marowa said.

"We have a whole lot of freshman this year, which is awesome. We have a lot of international guys. It's really cool to meet them, where they've come from and hear their stories as well. Overall, it's just been a fantastic experience so far and I just hope it continues," Saporito said.

Francesco Saporito

Francesco Saporito

"It's good like, having people around you that are having the same experience like a new environment, new country and stuff. I'm  enjoying it a lot. I'm happy here," Binder said.

They came from different parts of the globe, and who knows where they'll go when they leave this campus, but there was one common reason for all four of these guys ending up at UWM -- soccer.

"I really liked the environment. The soccer looked really attractive. The school itself, the academics are sort of with my interests, so that's just basically my story," Saporito said.

Matthias Binder

Matthias Binder

"The coaches here are very good coaches. Obviously, Coach Keldermann has been a pro, so obviously he can give good advice and he knows a lot of people, so hopefully I go pro afterwards as well. We'll see what happens," Kaye said.

What has happened so far is that these Panthers from all over have been able to come together to help the team show progress in the present and potential for the future. Away from soccer, they're learning about life in a new land.

Josh Kaye

Josh Kaye

"There's so much freedom because it's my first time away from home, and it's pretty crazy how free people are around here. You just do whatever you want, when you want," Marowa said.

It has been a long and winding road for each of these guys -- winding up on Milwaukee's East Side.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the UW-Milwaukee Panthers soccer team.

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