From Brazil and Egypt to Mercer: The Journey of Assistant Men's Soccer Coaches Matheus Martins and Kamal Eletrebi



Two former MCCC men’s soccer teammates find themselves back on the Vikings sidelines this season, this time as coaches.  Kamal Eletrbi (Dakahlia, Egypt/Mansoura Language School) and Matheus Martins (Sao Paulo, Brazil/Fundagao Bradesco) were teammates on the 2018 MCCC men’s soccer team and both have come back to the pitch to help their Coach Widmarc (Tigana) Dalce.

Martins played for the Vikings in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Martins started 12 out of 15 games and had 11 goals and 3 assists. In 2019, Martins had 9 goals and 4 assists and helped lead the Vikings to the Region 19 Championship. Martins had 2 game-winning goals for the Vikings in the 2019 season including a thrilling last minute goal over Harcum in the Region 19 Semifinals to give Mercer the 3-2 win.

Following his two years at MCCC, Martins transferred to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. He played at GVU for two seasons, spending the first season with former MCCC teammates Diego Liete and Joao Almeida. Martins started 11 out of 13 games for GVU in his senior season in 2022.

 Eletrebi had an unique journey onto the MCCC men’s soccer team.  Eletrebi began taking classes at MCCC in the fall of 2013.  He participated with the team in their spring season in 2014 but was told he would be unable to play in the regular fall season because he was over 21 and had graduated overseas.  But the age requirement changed in 2016 and Coach Dalce invited Eletrebi back to the team.  Eletrebi was a redshirt in 2017 but was able to play in six games for the Vikings in the fall of 2018 and had an assist in a game vs Manor.

Eletrebi graduated from Mercer in May 2019 with an Associates in Business Administation.  Eletrebi transferred to William Patterson where he graduated in with a degree in Sports Management.  Eletrebi played in eight games for the Pioneers in 2019 and in three games in 2020, his final season at WPU.

For Martins, soccer has always been an important part of his life. “My father was a professional soccer player and I grew up watching him. I remember always asking for cleats or soccer balls for my birthday gifts, so I always loved the sport. When thinking about a profession that I am passionate about, I could only think about something related to soccer. Being in the field everyday makes me happy. For this reason, I tried to combine everything that I studied, years of experience playing the sport and being a leader and captain on multiple occasions and I found coaching a perfect match.”

Martins grew up in Brazil but found his way to Mercer in 2018. “In 2018, I was living in Asia at the time and a good friend of mine Jonas Castelhano had a conversation with me about the MCCC program, how good it was, how successful they were, and knowing me he knew I would be a good fit for the team. After that, he introduced me to Coach Tigana and both of them together with Nicole Hover and Lisa Bogdiewcz (Recruitment and Enrollment), did everything to bring me here.”

Martins had such a positive experience during his two years at MCCC, that when he heard about an Assistant Coach opening at Mercer, he knew it would be a great opportunity. “During the two years that I played at MCCC I developed a great relationship with all the coaches and stayed in touch with them. When Coach T (Dalce) found out that I graduated and that I was trying to pursue a soccer coaching career, he mentioned to Mr. Simone that already knew me from the time I played and studied at MCCC. I was also always in touch with my good friend Kamal who was also working here and he told me great things about being an assistant coach at Mercer and I accepted the job.”

When asked his favorite memory from playing soccer at MCCC, Martins a hard time choosing just one. “I had a lot of great memories playing for Mercer, it is hard to find "one" favorite memory. There are two moments that were very special for me and always come to my head when I remember playing here. In 2018, I remember a very tough game in Massachusetts against Massasoit CC. We beat them 3-2 and I was fortunate to score two goals, one in regular time, and the second one was the golden goal (game-winning) goal in overtime and I remember everyone running to celebrate with me. In 2019 the same thing happened, at home, I scored a golden goal in overtime in the Region Semifinal against Harcum College. This one was very important because after this goal we advanced to the Region finals.”

Soccer was not the only memorable thing for Martins during his two years at MCCC. He was very appreciative of his academic experience as well. “MCCC was very good for me, I will be always grateful for my time in this school, playing and studying here. In the classroom, it really prepared me to be an excellent student and I am very proud to say that I graduated with honors (Summa Cum Laude) from Grand View University because my GPA was above 3.9. It all started at Mercer. When I arrived in the country I had to take English Second Language (ESL) courses before starting taking credit courses, and then have enough credits to transfer to a four year university.”

While at Grand View University, Martins majored in Kinesiology, which he has found very helpful to him as a coach now. “Kinesiology is a great major for those who want to pursue a coaching career (not only in soccer). I use a lot of the knowledge I gained in the field, at the gym, to prepare training sessions, and give advice for the athletes. This major helps us to have a good understanding about the human body and spreading this knowledge can definitely help them to take better care of themselves and eventually increase performance in the field.”

The kinesiology knowledge Martins learned along with his positive experience at MCCC is what he hopes to share with the players he is coaching. “I hope to help my athletes to perform in the field and to prepare them for the following years and for life.  I want to share my knowledge and experience acquired by studying a lot and playing the sport for my entire life. In addition to that, I hope to help them to have a great experience here and to have fun. The years here are great in many aspects and I want them to take advantage of that, just like I did.”

Similar to Martins, Eletrebi started playing soccer at an early age. “I become interested in coaching because of my personal experiences and wanting to share this knowledge and skills with others. I started playing soccer for an academy at the age of 5 back in Egypt all the way until I turned 18 years. I then traveled to the US to play college soccer.”

Part of the reason Eletrebi chose to come to Mercer was the good soccer program he heard about, which is one reason Martins chose MCCC as well. “I chose to come to MCCC because it has a great academic program that can transfer to a good four-year school, as well as the reputation of the soccer program and the Athletic Department.”

When asked his favorite memory from playing soccer at MCCC, like Martins, it was hard for Eletrebi to pick just one. “I have a lot of good memories, but if I had to choose one it would be when I traveled in 2017 to Arizona with my teammates for the NJCAA D1 National Tournament. We won the Region (19) and Northeast district and finished the season with a 20-4-1 record.”


Eletrebi’s time on the pitch at MCCC was not the only thing that helped him at the next level, but his time in the classroom as well. “MCCC helped me a lot!! It got me ready athletically and academically for the next step which was a four-year school. I always had concerns and fears about failing classes and not being able to manage classes, soccer and work. But I have always believed that if I work hard and do everything the right way, I will have a lot of good opportunities waiting for me after MCCC. I also believed if I do well athletically and academically well at MCCC, I can do well anywhere, and I kept this in mind and eventually, during my last semester with MCCC I got an offer for a scholarship from WPU as well as an invitation to join WPU men’s soccer team during the pre-season.”


It wasn’t until his senior year at WPU that Eletrebi became interested in coaching, when he applied for a coaching job with the New York Red Bull. The application for this coaching job led Eletrebi to pursue and obtain multiple coaching licenses and certifications. Once Eletrebi joined the MCCC men’s soccer coaching staff in fall 2021, he fell in love with coaching and the influence he could have on his players. “I was able to see things in a different way than a student athlete. I believe coaching sports is not just a regular job. Coaches can really impact the youth or the student athletes well beyond sports. They teach communication, what leadership looks like, how to build relationships, how to behave and carry themselves even during the bad moments.”

Eletrebi hopes to pass on some of his positive experiences at Mercer to his players as he enters his third season coaching at MCCC. “I always aim to enhance the technical, tactical, physical, and mental skills of the student athletes and emphasize building a strong sense of teamwork and unity. We encourage collaboration, effective communication, and mutual support among the team. We emphasize the importance of physical fitness to optimize performance and reduce the risk of injuries.  We strive to instill values of fair play, respect, and discipline in my players. We encourage good sportsmanship, adherence to rules, and maintaining a positive attitude both on and off the field. While winning is not the sole focus, we often aim to lead the team to success in competitions and help athletes develop mental toughness."

As for coaching at his alma mater and the collegiate level, Eletrebi has even more he hopes to instill in the Vikings he coaches. “In MCCC men’s soccer we always seek to contribute to the personal growth and development of the student athletes. We encourage them to take on leadership roles, develop self-confidence, and learn important life skills such as time management, goal setting, and resilience. My goal is to bring confidence, leadership, and a memorable journey to the student athletes, while inspiring and preparing them to achieve success at the highest level. That would definitely feel like a dream coming true, see all of the student athletes going through a big competition like the NJCAA Tournament, have that experience, and enjoy every moment.”

While Eletrebi and Martin grew up on different continents, they found their way to Mercer and a new home with the MCCC soccer team. The two former players are now passing on the many lessons they learned both in the classroom and on the field at MCCC to current Viking players.





Eletrebi and Martins on the MCCC sideline this fall

Martins on the 2018 MCCC men's soccer team


Eletrebi in action for MCCC (center of photo)

Martins playing for Grand View University



Eletrebi in a game for William Patterson University (on right, white and orange uniform)