by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Mario Fabian Gromenida learned his soccer skills at a young age when growing up in the city of Clorinda, located in the province of Formosa, Argentina.
With the Paraguayan border only four kilometres from his hometown, it was no surprise that in later life, he took his soccer talents to the neighbouring South American country as he would go on to suit up for Club Sol de América in Barrio Obrero while attending Universidad San Carlos in Asunción.
His choice of post-secondary study was Agronomy.
Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fiber, and land reclamation according to Wikipedia.
A natural course choice for Gromenida as he grew up on a farm which had a diverse production base with cattle, fish and rice.
The type of fish was Pacu, which according to sources, "is a common name used to refer to several species of omnivorous South American freshwater serrasalmid fish that are related to the piranha."
Wanting to take a bite at a new life experience, Gromenida, who turns 24 this Friday, applied for and was accepted into the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program, which provides scholarships for students from Latin America and the Caribbean with exchange opportunities to study in Canada.
His choice of destination was Olds College where he suited up for the Broncos' men's soccer and futsal teams for 2017-2018.
"The hardest thing when I came here was the language," admits Gromenida, who is enrolled in Agriculture Management. "English is a pretty complicated and I am here trying to improve on it and also with my studies."
Rugby was the sport of choice for both his father and brother, but Gromenida said they support him with his decision to play soccer and move to Canada.
"They (family) are always giving me their full support. It is complicated to be so far away from them. They are probably going to come here for Christmas, so I am excited about that."
Of life in Olds, he replied: "Olds is a pretty small town but it is beautiful as well and the people are so nice and I have made so many friends here."
Eight games into the 2018-2019 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season the Broncos sport a record of two wins, five losses and a tie with 13 goals for and 17 goals against.
The 5-foot-8 Gromenida has scored nine goals in seven appearances, which is tops in the 13-team ACAC Men's Soccer conference.
Asked what is his main skill on the pitch, Gromenida answered honestly and in broken English: "I would say...shoot to the net."
Aside from missing Sunday barbecues at home, Gromenida said he also longs for his six-year old pet dog Luna, a Weimaraner.
"I miss my dog absolutely. She loves to swim and we usually spent a lot of time together."
A avid fisherman, he once caught a 15-kilogram river fish, Gromenida said he would like to try "ice fishing" as "I have only seen it in videos and it looks pretty interesting."
An fan of Argentina rock music, "My teammates laugh when I play it," Gromenida said "I would like to stay in Canada for a couple of years after graduating."
But right now the focus is on his studies and soccer.