Telles Cardoso loves football, whether it's American or Brazilian style.
Since he hails from Sao Paolo, the largest city in the Americas, he actually knows a lot more about the game of soccer as it is referred to here in America. Cardoso, a new foreign exchange student who just enrolled at Thomson High School three weeks ago, has suddenly found a new love for the game of football.
When Cardoso arrived and began living with his foreign exchange host family, David and Chanda Harbeson in Dearing, he knew he wanted to participate in some sort of sport at the school.
In his native country, Cardoso was used to playing soccer and basketball.
When it came to playing football (soccer) in Brazil, however, it was much different.
He didn't have to don shoulder pads and a helmet to play that sport.
But here in America, playing football requires that players wear that kind of protective gear to stay safe.
As one of the newest members of the Thomson High School football team, Cardoso has learned much.
"I learn how to kick football," said Cardoso during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror . "It's little different than kicking soccer ball."
Nevertheless, in just his first three attempts at kicking an American football, coaches at Thomson High School were impressed.
"He can kick it pretty good and pretty far," said Thomson assistant coach Chris Hodges, who oversees the special teams and kickers.
"He's real accurate, too."
Take this year's first football game for example.
Cardosa was perfect in his debut as a high school football player. He kicked five extra points in Thomson's 35-0 victory over the Washington-Wilkes Tigers. He also punted for the first time ever in a football game.
He admitted that it's different, including the size and color of the ball, but that he loves it.
"I love it," said the 18-year-old Cardoso, who is taking senior classes at Thomson High. "Football is lots of fun."
In the second game of the year, which was played against the Lakeside High Panthers of Evans, Cardoso turned out to be the game's hero.
With just 16 seconds to play in the game, Cardoso was called upon by Thomson head coach Luther Welsh to attempt a 20-yard field goal that would give the Bulldogs a 10-9 win over Lakeside.
"I not feel any pressure," said Cardoso when the moment came for him to kick the football. "I just go out there and kick it high and straight."
That's all it took.
His kick couldn't have been more perfect.
And as a result, it helped the Bulldogs to a one-point upset over the Panthers, a Class AAAA power.
"It was fun," said Cardoso, an A student. "Everyone congratulated me after game. It was nice experience."
Cardoso said he looks forward to the rest of the football season and plans to play soccer for the Bulldogs when soccer season rolls around.
He plans to attend college after graduation and study international trade.