Meet Ivo Moreira, a Portuguese born hockey player who took his skills all over the world in search of challenging and competitive play.
Moreira started playing hockey when he was 12 years old. In Portugal, there is only one hockey league which is made up of eight clubs. He quickly moved up the ranks, playing for the Portuguese national team at age 16. Soon, Moreira decided it was time to take his skills abroad in search of even more high-level and competitive play outside of his home country.
His first LEAP was to Spain, where he played and coached hockey for a year. After returning home for a short time, he then LEAP’t to play in Canterbury, England. At Canterbury HC he met LEAP Worldwide’s Founder Ainsley McCallister. Next, he LEAP’t to play in another country. Where is he now? Hear it from him: “I decided to come to Holland because this country is the biggest country of hockey in the world right now…the club is very good, the crowds are great, and the games are competitive.” He went originally for just a camp in Rotterdam, and ended up staying there for a year while studying, coaching and playing. His current team there, Venlose HC, just won the Indoor South Tournament and Moreira scored the winning shuffle!
Moreira had the drive and foresight to see the value in abroad experiences and took the LEAP to three different countries. While abroad, not only did he get to challenge himself in the hockey sense but also when it came learning about new cultures and languages. He still remains a member of the Portuguese National Team, where he has been able to contribute heavily and help bring his team to the top eight ranked in Europe, which is a massive accomplishment for a small hockey nation like Portugal.
Moreira’s hockey skill isn’t the only thing that has benefitted from playing abroad. In fact, thanks to collaboration with coaches and teammates he met competing outside of Portugal, he has jointly started his own business in the hockey world! What started as recording tricks and posting the videos online turned into Moreira and his partners gaining a huge following, selling their own gear and clothing, and gaining sponsorship for their venture, called Self Pass. Moreira tells us that, “Self Pass is very exciting, which is nice because I’m not just here to be doing hockey.” Moreira is a perfect example of a player who took the LEAP and not only excelled in foreign leagues, but progressed in multiple other aspects of life; in his case, in a business and entrepreneurial career.
LEAP asked Moreira how he learned of his first opportunity to go abroad, and he pointed to his foreign coaches that the Portuguese Federation hired to come lead the National Team. He says, “When I was U-18 under Argentinean coach, Zeke Paulon, he was very involved in the players lives and knew that Portugal wasn’t good enough for us to be at our best and get us to the next level.” When Paulon left Portugal, he gave Moreira and a few other players information to connect with foreign clubs, and soon he was contacted to play in Spain. If it wasn’t for his coach from Argentina, Moreira might not have had the chance to play abroad considering it is so difficult for players to find a starting point. LEAP wants to eliminate the element of chance in getting these invaluable opportunities in other countries. No more depending upon “knowing a guy who knows a guy”.
Part of being a competitive athlete isn’t just not backing down from challenges, but seeking them out. For Ivo Moreira, this meant leaving his home country where the hockey scene was small, and taking the LEAP to play in some of the most highly competitive leagues in Europe. His skills improved, his business career sparked, and his National Team in Portugal improved when he and his other abroad-experienced teammates returned to play for their country. The world of sports is changing due to the increasing interconnectedness athletes and coaches everywhere are now experiencing. You do not want to miss out, and you don’t have to. Opportunities to increase your skills, see the world, make amazing friends, and so much more, are at your fingertips when you sign up with LEAP Worldwide. Lastly, a big thanks to Ivo Moreira for sharing his story with us, and look out for him doing big things in Holland at Venlose HC and with Self Pass!
Don’t wait for chance. Start planning your LEAP today!