By Benjamin Wideman/SLC Sports Information Director
When it comes to his favorite activities, Bruno Asca Rosas is equally happy using his hands or his feet.
In moments of inspiration, the 20-year-old Silver Lake College freshman savors the opportunity to pick up a pencil and write poems.
"It's a way to express the things that are hard to say," said Bruno, whose topics revolve around love and life. "Writing poems is relaxing for me and lets me get out what's on my mind."
When he's not writing poems or taking classes in pursuit of a bachelor's degree in psychology, Bruno likely can be found outside using his feet for another favorite activity: soccer.
Bruno is a starter on the Silver Lake College men's soccer team, which features a 5-2-1 record in its second season.
"Bruno has been a wonderful addition to the team," head coach Bob Jeffrey said. "His skill with a soccer ball is on show for everyone to see.
"But what is more important is the amount of hard work and dedication that is takes to get to the skill level Bruno has acquired. Bruno is first to practice and last to leave. And he is first on the bus when we are traveling. He shows great enthusiasm for the game of soccer, and he is a great role model to the other soccer players at Silver Lake College."
Soccer is a lifelong passion for Bruno, who was born and raised in Lima, the capital of Peru. He is the only Silver Lake College student-athlete who hails from South America.
Peru is known worldwide as the home of World Heritage site Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan citadel situated high in the Andes Mountains. Peru also is the inspiration for the popular Disney film "The Emperor's New Groove."
But to Bruno, Peru is simply home.
Energized by seeing his oldest brother Francisco and grandfather Juan playing soccer, young Bruno began kicking around soccer balls at the age of 6. Of his five siblings, all four brothers also played competitive soccer at one time or another.
"My family really likes soccer. It's the most popular sport in Peru," said Bruno, who lists Argentinian star Lionel Messi as his favorite player.
Bruno played soccer throughout his childhood. While competing for Pedro Galvez Egusquiza High School in Lima, he served as team captain the last three years. Bruno's family didn't have much money, so it was his lifelong dream to become a professional soccer player.
Bruno graduated from high school in December 2013, and four months later the entire family — despite not speaking a word of English — packed their bags and moved to Florida.
"We came to the United States to get a better future," Bruno said. "It's the American dream."
Bruno stopped playing soccer for about a month so he could focus on learning English. But he quickly found his way back to a soccer field about the same time he started working at a grocery store in south Florida.
"I missed soccer and wanted to play as soon as I could," he said.
Over time, Bruno began taking classes at Broward College, where he met Cesar Pineda Funes, who had recently moved there from Honduras. They struck up a friendship and played soccer together.
Cesar ended up coming to Silver Lake College at the start of last school year and played on the inaugural men's soccer team. Cesar, who went on to earn Team MVP honors, then persuaded Bruno to come to Manitowoc this year and be his teammate.
"Cesar told me people here at Silver Lake College were very kind and everyone in this school tries to help you in any way they can," Bruno said. "So convinced me to come here, and I'm liking it very much."
Bruno would like to use his future degree in psychology to one day help others as a counselor.
And if he's able to continue playing soccer after college, well, that's icing on the cake.
"It's one of my biggest dreams," he said. "I want to play somewhere after college. That's why our coach tells us — if you want to get something you have to put in the effort. So I am putting in the effort."
Meanwhile, his mother and father, Fanny and Enrique, as well as four of his siblings all live in south Florida, where they recently weathered Hurricane Irma.
Bruno said he misses his friends in Peru and his favorite foods, including locro (a type of stew), but he's happy to be in Manitowoc. It's much different than his hometown of Lima, which is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and boasts a population of nearly 10 million people.
"Manitowoc isn't a big city, but you can go for a walk and not worry it. And it's a nice place for me to live and to go to school," Bruno said. "I'm doing what I like here. I'm playing soccer and I'm taking classes. So I'm happy."
PHOTO: Silver Lake College freshman Bruno Asca Rosas/photo and illustration by Benjamin Wideman