Student of the Year at the Nathan M. Bisque College of Business for the past two years
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, Florida – For Florida Tech player Boris Villa, baseball has been a part of his life since the day he was born.
Raised in Barranquilla as the son of a New York Mets and Texas Rangers player, Villa has seen many aspects of life in professional baseball.
Name a major leaguer from Colombia and chances are Villa not only know the player, but have some sort of relationship with them.
Among his close friends on the diamond, Villa cites Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Luis Patino as well as Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jose Quintana, a former All-Star who Borris helped earn second-team All-Sun State Conference and ABCA/earning pitchers. Rawlings All-Region following the 2021 season.
However, those close encounters allowed Villa to see another side of the sport. About ten percent of minor league baseball players, regardless of whether they were signed as international free agents or graduated from high school or college, eventually make the major leagues.
Even those labeled as having “born talent” or “unmissable opportunity” are sometimes unable to make it to the show due to injuries or various reasons.
For young players from countries in South America and the Caribbean Islands, the goal can lead to a single focus, not only to do major work, but also to earn money that will benefit their families and communities for generations. They make their sport a 24/7 job, often willingly forgoing education.
If these dreams are not realized, these young people are often left at square one.
“I’ve seen a lot,” Villa said. “They were released after two years, and they didn’t even have a high school education, so they had nothing to do.”
Seeing these many stories made Boris, who graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and plans to graduate with a master’s in business administration in the summer of 2022, to look inward and think about what he could change.
In 2017, Villa helped create the Fundación Inspira Colombia with Top Prospects Colombia while chasing his dream of one day reaching the big leagues.
The goal of the two organizations is to create exposure for athletes in all sports in Colombia and help them get an education that will help them find a second career after playing so that they can eventually get a scholarship to a school in the United States. Days end.
Villa, who has been named the Nathan M. Bisque College of Business Student of the Year for the past two years, sees the long-term benefits of a college education and the careers that allow scholar-athletes to pay it forward to eventually make a positive difference in their communities and inspire others to do the same.
“I want people to help cities because they’re going to give back to the degree that they can help their families,” he said. “So they have another option to make money.”
One of the things that led Villa to lead these two organizations was his first experience in America while attending junior college. “I wanted to give the opportunity I got here,” Villa said. “When I came here I was like, ‘Oh, this is awesome!’ I was like So I wanted to pass it on.”
Florida Tech saw the results of the Inspira with two Barrancula natives, junior designated hitter Diego Garcia and sophomore pitcher Andres Tapia.
“It’s been the best experience since coming to Florida Tech,” Tapia said.
“Meeting new people, studying abroad, and continuing to play baseball at a high level. It’s one of my biggest dreams and I’m really enjoying my time here. Now I’m supporting Boris with his program through Inspira and helping talented people learn and play baseball here in America.
“It was a great experience and I feel that all my expectations were met. “I couldn’t ask for a better education than what I’m getting at this school,” said Garcia, who has been friends with Villa since childhood.
“Now I am part of the project and we will continue to help people to play baseball and get a higher education in the United States, just like he helped me.”
Panthers head coach Jeff Tam has attended several shows in Columbia in the past and what stands out to him is just how much of a role model Boris has become among his peers.
“These kids are only two, three, four years younger than Boris,” said Tham, himself a former major league pitcher.
“The way they look at him and the way they treat him with respect from the heart and understand what he’s doing and his place in Columbia is trying to get those guys baseball and school. I think they see it differently and appreciate what he does.
While Boris Villa’s career as a Panther may end in May, he will continue to pursue his dream of reaching the major leagues and partner with those who helped shape him into the athlete he is today.
However, it is his long-term vision that has the potential to help others in his country and create a brighter future for many.
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