Coming from two different ends of the world, Caio Reis Ramon and Jordan Edmonds have travelled thousands of miles to further their education at Durham College (DC). With just over 400 international students, Durham provides these students with not only the opportunity of learning abroad but also to be a student athlete for the Durham Lords.
Hailing from Belem, Brazil, Ramon is the newest midfielder for the men’s soccer team and Edmonds from Horsham, England takes the mound as pitcher for the men’s baseball team. Despite limited resources and opportunities, Edmonds and Ramon started playing their chosen sports at young ages and have worked hard to excel both in their athletic and educational goals. Now they are able to continue to do that in Canada.
Although they’re playing on different teams at Durham, Edmonds and Ramon have both enjoyed their experience so far, but admit that the beginning of their journeys were a little intimidating.
“I was pretty nervous, just trying to find my way around was challenging,” said Ramon about his first week at Durham College. “When I started playing with my team, I started making friends and they really helped making the whole process of coming to a new school in a different country easier.”
Coming from Brazil, which has a strong cultural connection to soccer, the sport has always been familiar to the 20-year-old Ramon. Throughout his childhood, Ramon grew up playing soccer. He has continued to be inspired and motivated to improve his soccer skills like other professional athletes from his country. Being on a variety of school teams throughout his life, it was an obvious choice for Ramon to continue to play soccer at Durham.
As the midfielder for the men’s soccer team, Ramon credits his success so far to coach Dave Ashfield and his teammates that have helped him throughout his transition, especially with overcoming language barriers. After completing his education in the Operations Management – Business Administration program, Ramon plans to return to Brazil and work, while hoping to play soccer in his spare time.
Unlike Ramon, Edmonds’ exposure to his sport was only by chance. At the age of 12, Edmonds was introduced to baseball by an American who ran clinics at a baseball club in his hometown of Horsham, England. Although the lack of participation and funding for baseball made playing in England challenging, Edmonds continued to play in the baseball club in his hometown. When the opportunity to play for the Great Britain National Team presented itself, Edmonds did not hesitate to take it. It was on that team that he met Sam Dempster, who is also the head coach for the Durham Lords’ baseball team.
Now the pitcher for the men’s baseball team and a first-year Journalism – Web and Print student at Durham College, the 19-year-old has big plans for his future. After Durham, Edmonds hopes to join a league in either the United States or in Europe to see how far he can progress with his baseball career.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Canada and when I learned that Sam Dempster was the head coach, I knew that Durham College would be a good fit for me,” said Edmonds. “My whole team gets along and we just have a really good time together so it helps us play the game that much better.”
Although they haven’t changed their personal style of play, both Ramon and Edmonds try to improve their skills and learn from practices and games. Their coaches push them hard during practice to prepare them both mentally and physically for games.
For Edmonds and Ramon, their game winning plays have been the highlight of their time here in Canada. For Ramon it was scoring the first two goals of his Ontario College Athletic Association (OCAA) career to defeat George Brown in a 4-0 victory and more recently when the team qualified as one of the final four teams for the OCAA championship for the first time since 1999. As for Edmonds, it was his first win while pitching against George Brown and finishing silver in the OCAA championship that made all of his hard work worth it.
According to Ramon, “One of the best parts of being an international student athlete at Durham is being able to travel around with my teammates and seeing parts of Canada that I would not have seen otherwise.” Edmonds adds, “Durham really has a strong sense of community both in the school and in it’s athletics programs, I love being not only a student but also an athlete for the Durham Lords.”