Bernardo Roese was awarded “Male Student Athlete of the Year,” Western State MVP, and led the CCCAA State in assists per game last year. This season he has the responsibility of leading the men’s volleyball team.
Roese, a sophomore, is from Novo Hamburgo, Brazil where he graduated from high school and started his career as a professional volleyball player.
Roese said he started playing from a young age because his dad played professional volleyball in Brazil, in which he was part of the national team and also got the opportunity to play in Europe.
“I started playing in fourth grade. I think I was 10 or 11. It was always my dream to play volleyball,” Roese said. “My dad is who inspired me and I’d look at him and say ‘I want to be like you.’”
Roese said sports play a big role in his family, and before turning to volleyball he tried soccer, basketball, tennis, and boxing.
“As a child I always liked playing sports, but I chose volleyball because I think I’m just better at volleyball,” Roese said.
Two years ago, Roese decided to leave Brazil. With help from an uncle, he sent his video to Pierce and joined the team. He said it was a tough choice to leave Brazil, but he did it to pursue his career in International Business and play the sport he loves.
“Here the sport has way more support from the government and the cities. We don’t have sports in colleges or universities; you either play or you study in Brazil,” Roese said. “I want to study, but I want to keep playing, so for this I needed to get out of Brazil because you can’t do that in Brazil, it’s too hard.”
Roese said he’s majoring in business because he plans on opening up his own business in Brazil, like his family, when he’s no longer playing. As for now, he said he is satisfied with playing for Pierce for his second year and being the captain of the team.
Head Coach Lance Walker said Roese is a good leader, the center of the team and the decision maker. He’s happy with his performance and likes having him on the team.
“Normally players like him transfer on, but he came back to win a championship with us so that was very special,” Walker said. “He’s turned down opportunities to come back to Pierce and that says a lot about him and how he feels about the team.”
Roese said he considers his teammates to be like family and believes that making great friends is more important than success.
“Of course winning is always good, but this is going to be over,” Roese said. “Volleyball passes, but what stays is the friendship and I think we’re all really good friends.”
Although Roese describes his temper as “explosive,” he has a good relationship with his players and tries to lead them the best he can.
“I can’t be that explosive with some of the players because if I am, they might get scared,” Roese said. “They have a lot of respect for me and they expect me to lead them. I’m trying to be a leader for this young group of guys, and I try to do my best.”
Brett Norkus, freshman, said Roese always knows what to say to them. He talks to them about things they need to fix and will frequently give motivational speeches to the team. But said Roese can also be very “explosive.”
“You always just take it and go with it because he knows what’s best for the team,” Norkus said.
Norkus also said Roese is one of their strongest players, and the team would be in trouble without him.
“In a few years, we will definitely need another Bernardo,” Norkus said.
Roese said he plans to return to Brazil after completing his education at Pierce and go on to play professional volleyball in Brazil for another 10 to 12 years, or until his body says it’s time to stop.
“I plan on playing however many years I have,” Roese said. “I’ll try to play because I love it. I love the sport.”