By Adam Roseberry
To Enzo Camps, soccer is everything. That intense love of the game is why the soccer player left his home in Noyon, France, and made the 4,837 mile trip across the Atlantic Ocean and the Southeastern United States to play goalkeeper in rural Northeast Texas.
“When you love soccer like I love soccer, your life is about soccer. Your choices, your way of thinking, the way you see your future, everything’s about soccer,” Camps, NTCC soccer player, said. “I wanted to go away from my country to have a trip and discover a new thing. It’s an amazing experience. I think it’s the type of experience that you remember all your life.”
Enzo has been around the game since a young age, following in the footsteps of his father, who was also a goalkeeper in his time. However, Camps didn’t start his career back in goal.
“I started playing when I was 9, and I never stopped. From 9 to 13 I was a striker. At 13 I started being a goalkeeper,” Camps said. “At a tournament, I went out as a goalkeeper to help the team, and I was pretty good, so I stayed goalkeeper and I have never quit this position since.”
One of the major turning points in Camps’ soccer career and life took place in 2015 when he met David Imbert while playing at a soccer event in France.
Imbert is a year older than Camps, but the two hit it off and became the very best of friends. Imbert left France a year before Enzo to play forward for NTCC. While playing for the Eagles, Imbert met two other French players on the NTCC squad, an unexpected, but welcome occurrence.
With the French presence at NTCC, Camps’ friend felt like it would not be too difficult to recruit Enzo to come join the Eagles.
“He was my best friend in France,” Imbert said. “It was easy to convince him to come.”
Camps was ready to take on a new challenge in his life and his soccer career and head to America for a new adventure.
“I wanted to come,” Camps said.
Camps wanted to be an Eagle, but how would the coaches feel? Imbert sold them on his skilled friend from across the water.
“[Camps] played at a good level in France. I was like ‘He’s a good goalkeeper,’” Imbert said. “The coach was like, ‘I trust you’ and that’s why [Camps] is here.”
Imbert did a little more than that, helping his friend get in touch with the coach, who quickly offered Camps a spot on the team.
With his soccer dreams secure, Camps set out on his journey to the West, arriving in the United States for the first time in August. As Camps soon found out, life in America was just a little bit different than life in his native country.
Camps said he appreciates American culture, acknowledging several pros and cons of the American way of life. One of the cons would be the food.
“Here there are some very good things. But basic things like vegetables, cheese, meats are the things that I miss from my home,” Camps said. “In France we love to eat, but we love eating good things, especially vegetables and cheese. Cheese here is not the same as it is in France.”
One common occurrence in America particularly surprised Enzo.
“Everyone here is drinking soda,” Camps said. “In France it is water, and here everyone is drinking soda. That is the thing that surprised me the most.”
But there’s an even deeper virtue that separates American and French culture that also surprised Camps.
“The people here are really welcoming and nice. You can talk with everyone, listen to everyone,” he said. “My way of thinking is that you should listen to people and learn from them. In my opinion, it’s what makes you go in your life.”
One difference between American and French culture that stood out to Camps is the way people interact with those around them.
“American people are more forthcoming,” Camps said. “In France, people don’t talk to you naturally. If you talk to them, they’re going to be nice, they’re gonna be open, but not unless you talk first. Here people come up to you and talk to you.”
Camps describes himself as open minded, and always welcoming to new ideas. “You can talk to me about anything,” he said.
Camps, like most college students, values his parents above all. He is quick to talk about what he says is the most important thing in his life.
“My parents, of course,” Camps said. “My friends and soccer. All the people I love that I have around me and soccer.”
As the holidays approach, Enzo will travel almost 5,000 miles across the ocean back to his childhood home in the French countryside to visit his family. Although he has not added many physical possessions since he left his home, Enzo Camps has gained a lifetime’s worth of memories.