Nathan M. Bisk College of Business Best Student Award of the Past Two Years
Brevard County • Melbourne, Florida – For Florida Tech pitcher Boris Villa, baseball has been a part of his life since the day he was born.
Growing up in Barranquilla, Colombia as the son of a former minor league player and becoming a scout for the New York Mets and Texas Rangers, Villa got to see many facets of life in professional baseball.
Given the names of major leaguers from Colombia, it’s highly likely that Villa not only knows them, but also has some kind of kinship with them.
Among his closest diamond acquaintances, Villa mentions Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Luis Patino and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jose Quintana. He is a former All-Star player, and Boris will join the Second Team All-Sunshine State Conference and ABCA/Rawlings All-Regions following the 2021 season.
But these up-close experiences allowed Villa to see another side of the sport. About 10% of baseball players in his minor leagues eventually make it to his league in the majors, whether signed as an international free agent or drafted out of high school or college.
Even those labeled as “generational talent” or “not-to-be-missed prospects” may be unable to attend the show due to injury or a variety of factors.
For young athletes from South American countries and Caribbean islands, the goal of not only making it to the majors, but making money that will impact their families and communities for generations to come, makes playing sport 24 hours a day. They make it a 24/7 job and often leave education voluntarily.
When those dreams don’t come true, these young people are often thrown out.
“I’ve seen it a lot,” Villa said. “Two years later they were released, but they didn’t even have a high school degree, so they had nothing to do after that.”
Boris, who graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and plans to graduate with a master’s degree in business administration in the summer of 2022, has seen so many of these stories that he has been reflecting and thinking about them. I thought about what I could do to change.
While pursuing his dream of one day reaching the big leagues, in 2017 he helped found Fundación Inspira Colombia with Top Prospect Colombia.
The goal of these two organizations is to increase the exposure of athletes in all Colombian sports, and ultimately to obtain scholarships to schools in the United States to receive an education that will help provide a second career after playing. to make it possible. The days are over.
Billa, who has been named Student of the Year by the Nathan M. Bisk College of Business for the past two years, sees the long-term benefits of a college education and the careers colleges can offer, enabling academics and athletes. increase. Ultimately, you can make a difference in your community, inspire others to do the same, and get paid to do the same.
“I want people to be able to help the city because they’re coming back with a degree that can help their families as well,” he said. You have options.”
One of the reasons Villa came to lead these two organizations was her first experience in America while attending junior college. “He just wanted to give him the chance he got here,” Villa said. “When I got here, I was like, ‘Oh, this is great! ‘ So I just wanted to pass it on.” ”
Florida Tech has already seen the Inspira results firsthand with two fellow Barranquilla natives, up-and-coming designated hitter Diego Garcia and up-and-coming sophomore pitcher Andres Tapia.
“It’s been a great experience since coming to Florida Tech,” Tapia said.
“Meet new people, study abroad, and continue playing baseball at a high level. It is one of my biggest dreams and I really enjoy my time here. We support and support talented people to study and play baseball here in America.”
“It was a wonderful experience and I feel that all my expectations were met. Garcia said.
“Now I am part of the project and will continue to help people find places to play baseball and get higher education in America the way he helped me.”
Panther head coach Jeff Tam has attended multiple showcases in Columbia in the past and what stood out most for him was how much Boris became a role model among his peers. That’s what it means.
“These kids are only two, three, four years younger than Boris,” says Tam, a former major league pitcher.
“The way they respect him and treat him with the utmost respect is what he does, in Colombia trying to find them to come home for baseball or school. I think they just see him in a different light and really appreciate what he’s doing.”
Boris Villa’s Panther career may have ended in May, but he continues to pursue his dreams of reaching the major leagues and working with the people who helped shape him into the athlete he is today. increase.
But his long-term vision has the potential to help others in his hometown and create a brighter future for so many.
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