CCU Male Athlete of Month: Ribeiro is `Mr. November’

Sportscasters refer to New York Yankee Derek Jeter as “Mr. November,” and the term could be used to describe Coastal Carolina midfielder Pedro Ribeiro – not only for his play this season, but last year as well.

When it comes to big games and big moments, especially down the stretch, Ribeiro has found just the right touch on the soccer pitch for the Chanticleers.

For his several standout performances over the past month, Ribeiro, a Belo Horizonte Brazil native and Coastal Carolina junior, was chosen as the Hampton Inn Oceanfront Myrtle Beach’s Male Player of the Month for November.

Ribeiro  has tallied 20 shots in seven games during the month of November, leading the way for Coastal to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He scored three goals during those games.

Two of his biggest goals scored came in each half of the first round of the NCAA Tournament when Ribeiro ripped two shots into the back corner of the net. For his efforts, he earned a spot on Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week.

“It felt awesome to score those goals against Elon. We knew that it was going to be a tough and close game. We knew them pretty well and played against them five times in the last three years, so we knew what we were dealing with and that it was going to be a close game,” said Ribeiro.

“It is always a good feeling to make it to the NCAA tournament. That was one of our goals in the beginning of the season and every year we keep going further. I hope next year we do even better and can get to a Final Four.”

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Elon in 2011, Ribeiro finished with four shots and two assists in a 4-3 win. In the second round (3-2 loss) against eventual National Champion UNC-Chapel Hill, he added five shots and one assist.

These opportunities in the NCAA Tournament have come due to the sheer dominance by Coastal in Big South Conference play over the last two years. They have finished 19-0 in the regular season during that time span.

“The conference championships are super important. When we get together in the middle of July, we talk a lot about how important winning the conference is and we have been able to do that – which is a great accomplishment,” Ribeiro said.

Since his freshman campaign, Ribeiro has found a way to step up in big moments. He led all goal scorers that season with six goals and one assist.

“I would say that the first big-time goal that I scored came in my freshman year against UNC-Asheville during the regular season,” Ribeiro recalled. “It was not because it was a pretty goal, but for the moment in the game. It was in double overtime with five minutes to go on the clock.”

Adding to those totals over the past two seasons, Ribeiro has scored 20 goals and added 19 assists for 59 points in three seasons for the Chanticleers. He has had 179 shots, including 69 in frame. He has been consistent on the pitch as well with 4,914 minutes played for his career.

He attended Colegio Magnum Agostiniano in Brazil before attending Coastal Carolina, and he said the United States continues to grow the game of soccer.

“I became interested for the fact that in the United States you can do both – college and play soccer at the same time. That was the main reason,” he said. “The US is a country where soccer has been developing and a growing a lot.”

There were several reasons why Ribeiro became further interested in playing for CCU head men’s soccer coach Shaun Docking and the black and teal.

“When I started the process of making a DVD and taking the English test I need to take to be able to attend an American university, Coach Docking got in touch with me and … offered me a scholarship,” said Ribeiro about coming to CCU. “Coastal was the first school I talked to and for being in the South, and on the beach, and for the great weather, I decided to come here.”

Soccer has been a lifelong passion for Ribeiro, as the game of futbol remains a way of life in Brazil. He commented how if a team has the drive, anyone could win on any given day – an attitude that served the Chants well in their run to the Sweet 16.

“Soccer is my life. I have been playing soccer for my entire life since I was 2 years old. It is an emotional, surprising sport that on any given day, any team could beat a top five team. Not just in college, but in any professional league around the world. That is the beauty of soccer,” Ribeiro added.

“I am trying to leave my options as open as possible. I definitely want to keep playing soccer at the next level. I know that it is not easy, but I work every day for that reason – to have a chance to one day play professionally.”

With just three seniors on the 2012 team, the possibilities are limitless for Ribeiro and the Chanticleers next season. His plans continue to consistently improve each game.

“You always have to keep developing your game and working on your weaknesses. In any sport you play, not just soccer. That is the mentality that I have every time I step on the field,” he said. “Playing in such a great environment that we have here at Coastal, with a great coaching staff and amazing teammates has been essential for my improvement on a daily basis.”

Especially in November.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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