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jim smith bio



Profiles of Two University of Hartford Soccer Stars
The Observer magazine, Winter 2010

Joseph “Joey” Patuleia is, in the words of University of Hartford President Walter Harrison, “a force of nature.” A standout soccer player and member of the UHart team that won the America East Conference Championship in 1999, Patuleia pursued his passion for soccer after graduation, playing professionally in France until 2005.

Patuleia was almost impossible to miss while he was a UHart student, says Harrison, one of the most well-known figures on campus. But while most students would have recognized him as an athlete, fewer might have known about his skills as an artist and photographer. In 2009, when he was 29, he was chosen by Coca-Cola for the assignment of a lifetime – travel with and photographically document the breathtaking 70-day tour of the FIFA World Cup™ as it crossed the length and breadth of Africa, touching down in every nation.

“When I was hired to write profiles of two student-athletes for a special ‘international’ issue of UHart’s alumni magazine, The Observer, I wanted to capture the character of these remarkable young men,” says Jim Smith. “Sports stories often narrowly focus on the athlete, without examining the rest of his or her life. I think that great athletes are always complex human beings. Really understanding the motivations that enable them to perform exceptionally requires looking beyond the locker room.”

Jim’s companion story to the feature about Patuleia painted an intimate portrait of Guatemala native Carlos Villa. Jim’s story revealed that “the best all-around soccer player in the America East Conference,” according to UHart coach Dan Gaspar, was also an exceptional student and academic role model, a winner because of his commitment, discipline and humility.

Click on the link at left to read Jim's "Guatemala/Africa" profiles.

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