The Digital Journalism Blog

Bradley’s taste of Zimbabwe

Posted in Uncategorized by com360bu on May 9, 2011

Bradley Braves’ soccer player, Tapiwa Machingauta, traveled a long way to play Division 1 soccer.  He has definitely made the most of his journey and still has two years to add to his legacy.  He describes where he came from, how he got here, and what drives him to be the best player he can be.

By Jake Eastman

Bradley’s taste of Zimbabwe

PEORIA, Il. — Bradley athletics player, Tapiwa Machingauta, did not have the easiest road to Division 1 soccer, but he sure has made the most of it.

Machingauta is one of the Braves’ top defenders.

He grew up in Zimbabwe, a third world country, and began playing soccer with anything he could.

“We did not have balls and never used to have shoes back home,” he said. “We used to make balls out of plastic.”

However, the first sport he took seriously was basketball because he was taller than all of his peers. It was not until he switched high schools that soccer became his primary focus.

“The school that I went to did not offer competitive basketball,” he said. “I was already playing soccer as well so that’s how I stuck with soccer.”

Machingauta’s first big opportunity came when he was 14 and living in Malawi, a small country in southeast Africa. His dad gave a ride to a man who lived near them, and the man figured out that Tapiwa was his son. Unbeknownst to Machingauta’s father, the man had close ties to the Malawi national soccer team.

“The man told my father that he had seen me play, and he really liked how I played,” Machingauta said. “Then, the man said, ‘I think he should come try out for the national team.’”

Although he was a good player, this was the first time he had to play against grown men.

“I was really, really nervous,” he said. “But at the same time, I was really pumped to play against the big people.”

Machingauta went on to get a spot on the Zimbabwe U-20 national team, and this is where he first got noticed. Dartmouth was the first school to inquire about him, but he did not have the standardized test scores to get into the Ivy League school. However, the Dartmouth coach is friends with Bradley coach Jim DeRose and referred him to Machingauta.

After the recommendation, DeRose decided to follow up with Machingauta and eventually got him to Bradley.

“For us, it was a little bit of a risk because we did not actually see him play before he got here,” DeRose said. “That risk has paid off tremendously.”

Machingauta was on the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team in 2009. His sophomore season was limited by injury, but he still started in every game he was available for.

DeRose expects big things out of him this year if he can stay healthy. His physical strengths are his size and his athletic ability, but he brings more than that to the team.

“He brings a calmness to us,” DeRose said. “He has a leadership quality about him that is very strong that you can only get by playing at the level he’s played at.”

Chances are Machingauta will do everything he can to get back on the field since he only has two years of eligibility left.

“Soccer is my life,” he said. “Being without soccer, I just can’t do it.”

Machingauta teaches the basics of soccer

This video teaches the basics of soccer.  He shows you how to do certain passes and how to shoot certain shots.

Life of Tapiwa

You would click on each year and facts would come up about what he did that year.  Also, there would be a video with him talking about what happened each year and what each event meant to him.

1989-born on May 20 in Hwedza, Zimbabwe

2006-attended prestigious Prince Edward School in Maradonea, Zimbabwe and played in tournament against teams from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and South Africa.

2008-Vice captain of Harare Provincial Team and trained with Zimbabwe Under 20 National Team

2009-came to Bradley, started first game of the year, had his first career assist and point against Memphis on September 4, named to the MVC All-Freshmen Team, named Bradley Newcomer of the Year

2010-played club soccer over the summer in Maine for the MPS Portland Phoenix


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