Last Saturday, men’s soccer (10–1–2; 5–1–2 NESCAC) striker Ronaldo Cabral ’25 scored his sixth goal of the season against Hamilton College (8–1–4; 4–1–4 NESCAC) and sealed Bowdoin’s 4–0 win over the third ranked Continentals. The win, in addition to Wednesday’s win over Colby College (4–3–7; 1–3–5 NESCAC), propelled the Polar Bears to first place in the NESCAC. Cabral is leading the team in goals and shots on goal and hopes to continue contributing to winning as the team looks ahead to playoffs.
Cabral began playing soccer when he was five years old, in large part because of his family.
“Both my parents are from Brazil, so soccer was a huge part of my family growing up. My dad coached me for a lot of my youth years, which had a huge impact on my development as a player and love for the game,” Cabral said.
When it came time to decide if and where he was going to play collegiately, Cabral wanted to prioritize academics.
“Academics were always one of the first criteria because I knew I could play at other schools, but it wouldn’t be worth it in the long run,” Cabral said. “That limited my options to good schools, like Bowdoin, and I was lucky enough to make a good connection with our coach, who gave me the opportunity to come play here.”
One of Cabral’s favorite parts about playing at Bowdoin is spending time with his teammates. Some of his favorite memories involve activities that he can laugh about in hindsight.
“Last fall, the week leading up to playoffs, we practiced on the [Whittier Field] in the morning. We needed to shuffle the goals from our grass fields [at Pickard Field] all the way to Whittier. So at 5 a.m., our entire team was moving eight by 24 [feet] goals and rolling them … all the way to Whittier,” Cabral said. “In the moment it sucked, but it is something we laugh about all the time now.”
The team also has bonded over pre-game rituals and traditions, which have included playing music and taking three deep breaths all together before every game.
Cabral attributes much of the team’s recent success to its mentality.
“I think we’re doing well going into the games confidently and knowing that we are most likely the better team every game we play,” Cabral said. “I think we need to continue with that confidence and continue moving the ball more and more so that every game we play, we get to decide the outcome of the game, versus showing up to a game and trying to play how the other team plays.”
Cabral believes his individual success this season would be impossible without his teammates.
“The goals have come for me this year, which I’m grateful for, but I think again, everyone is motivated to just do their role in a game,” Cabral said. “As a striker, my role happens to be being in front of the goal and putting the goals away, but I look at that as just like a small part of the puzzle. If I’m doing that, it means that hopefully everyone else is doing the right thing because I’m not scoring the goals alone.”
After the team narrowly missed out on qualifying for the national tournament last season, Cabral is looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season unfolds and believes he and his teammates are prepared for the journey ahead.
“I thought we had a great team and [we] beat some good teams last year who ended up winning the national tournament. We knew, as a team, that we had the potential to be there and compete at that level,” Cabral said. “I think, this year, if everything keeps going the way it’s going, we can make it to the tournament. I’m excited to travel with the team and compete at the highest level we can play at.”