Wuilito Fernandes is an International football player who plays as an attacking Midfielder or forward, representing Cape Verde, which is a country off the North West Coast of Africa also known as Cabo Verbe. He made his debut for Cape Verde in 2017 v Luxembourg in a 2 – 0 victory. He then went on to play in 2 World cup qualifiers versus South Africa, ending up on the winning side as Cape Verde ran out 2-1 winners on both occasions. Domestically, Wuilito plays in the U.S.A. He played his first professional season with Orange County in the USL and currently plays for North Carolina FC in the same league.
Wuilito told us that like many children, he fell in love with football from before he could remember and in fact, it was his Mother that often reminded him of how when he was just 3, he would go running after his older brothers and friends, barefoot and shirtless to play. Those early experiences taught him discipline, character and a winning attitude, not through an inspirational figure or coach as you would normally expect but his motivation came purely from his will to further his existence and not to take the beating which was on offer by his brothers and older teammates had he failed to follow instructions.
Wuilito told us his parents separated when he was still a child. His Mother moved to the US to try and make a better life when he was 11 and in the meantime, Wuilito would live with his Father and his family. His Mother had always done her best to give him everything he needed but as a young boy, the relationship with his father was always extremely challenging and did not improve when his mother left. Wuilito told us “I didn’t really have a father figure after my mom Emigrated, not what I wished for but dealing with that matured me so much, both as a person and a footballer.” Wuilito found this was where his Faith in God as a ‘Father’ and Jesus as a ‘friend’ really gave him what he needed. He said in particular he learnt that despite the difficult times, God would be with him every step of the way and in that his faith taught him to embrace the downtimes, as much as he did the great ones.
As Wuilito grew up he enjoyed mainly playing Futsal and his football for fun with friends and didn’t begin playing competitively till age 15 but by the age of 17 he was already playing in the top Mens’ leagues before he was able to fulfil a dream and join his Mother in the US the following year. In doing so he was able to attend Boston International High School and gained a scholarship to continue playing soccer at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where Christian Figueroa, who was one of the coaches who he had met previously, gave him the amazing opportunity to not only play soccer but gain his college degree. For that Wuilito is eternally grateful, as from there he would go onto to achieve all the amazing things that he has so far in his career already including being drafted to FC Dallas in the MLS.
Wuilito said his story demonstrated many things but his most important message for you guys from it all was put in these words. He said “Regardless of whether you are a kid, a teenager, or an adult, you will always face difficult moments in life, but don’t be afraid to embrace those difficulties. I hope you understand you hold vital qualities that will never let you give up on your dreams. As long as you stay true to yourself, have discipline, remain patient and keep a positive mindset and most importantly know that with faith in God you will always see sunshine after every storm. I would say nothing is more memorable than seeing myself getting injured countless times and I still feel encouraged and strengthened because I have faith in God.”
Wuilito said he’s currently focused on improving day by day and helping his teammates get better so they can be one of the league contenders in the USL. Hopefully that will put him in the position for further International call ups and in that he’ll be looking to achieve his ultimate ambition of representing Cape Verde in the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon in 2019 and we hope and pray he’s able to achieve that.