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A successful business executive, Ozzie deFaria consults with high-level private equity groups while focusing on philanthropy and sports fandom.
For the past few years, Ozzie deFaria has lived in Florida where he enjoys glorious sunshine-filled days all year round. He is an avid sports fan, supporting several professional teams:
• The Boston Red Sox: The Boston Red Sox are one of the oldest sports teams in any American sports franchise. The Red Sox have been playing their home games in Fenway Park since 1912. Fenway Park is the oldest American sports stadium in continuous use.
Until 2004, the Boston Red Sox struggled under what superstitious fans called "the curse of the Bambino." The Bambino was baseball great Babe Ruth's nickname. After the Red Sox won the 1918 World Series, they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Up to that point, the Yankees had never won a title. After the trade, they went on to win 25 titles. The Red Sox, meanwhile, stopped winning titles altogether until they finally won the World Series in 2004.
• The Boston Celtics: The Boston Celtics dominated American basketball in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They still hold the record for the longest consecutive winning streak of any professional sports team in North America. Though subsequent decades proved challenging to the franchise, the Celtics have recently started to play well again.
• The New England Patriots: Until 1971, the New England Patriots were called the Boston Patriots. The football team changed its name to appeal to fans across a wider geographic spectrum. They're still Beantown boys at heart.
• The Boston Bruins: The Boston Bruins were one of the original teams in the National Hockey League. The team was founded in 1924, which makes it the oldest professional hockey team in the U.S.
Ozzie deFaria celebrates the athletic prowess and sportsmanship exhibited by these professional teams.
Ozzie deFaria understands the importance of education for getting ahead, and he holds the degrees to prove it. In 1985, he graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor's degree in finance. While working full time for AT&T, Ozzie went back to school for a Master's of Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. In 1998, he graduated from Harvard University's top-ranked Professional Management Development Program.
Ozzie deFaria was the first member of his family to go to college. Ozzie’s parents came to the U.S. in 1960 from the Cape Verde Islands.
The Cape Verde Islands lie 350 miles off the west coast of Africa. The archipelago has been independent since 1975 when its 500,000 inhabitants moved to end 400 years of Portuguese rule. The country has an extremely high literacy rate close to 85 percent, but Ozzie’s parents still felt that there would only be limited opportunities available for their children if they stayed on the islands.
Cape Verdeans have been immigrating to the U.S. since the 19th century. In the early 1800s, many Verdeans worked on American whaling ships as crewmembers. They were highly valued by their captains because of their strong work ethic. Many Cape Verdeans consequently settled in traditional whaling ports including New Bedford, Massachusetts.
The whaling industry is now just one more colorful episode in America's rich past. Cape Verdeans still tend to immigrate to communities in the northeastern U.S., including Boston, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Ozzie deFaria's parents wanted to be close to existing Cape Verdean communities in the U.S.
Cape Verde is a horseshoe-shaped cluster of ten islands that are volcanic in origin. The islands cover more than 1,500 miles in the central Atlantic Ocean. Their nearest African neighbors are the nations of Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania. There are two main clusters of islands, notes Ozzie deFaria: the windward islands and the leeward islands.
The windward Cape Verde islands are called the Barlavento Islands. Barlavento means "windward" in Portuguese.
• Santo Antão: Santo Antão is one of the most mountainous islands in Cape Verde. It contains many relatively young volcanoes. Grapes grow well in the island's volcanic soil, and wine is one of Santo Antão's largest exports. The island also exports coffee.
• São Vicente: Despite the scarcity of water on São Vicente, the island is the second most populous in the Cape Verde archipelago. The island has a population of over 76,000 inhabitants. Most of Cape Verde's exports are processed through the island's main port, Porto Grande. The island also has a large number of footwear manufacturing factories that are funded by foreign investment.
• São Nicolau: São Nicolau has traditionally been an agricultural center. In recent years, however, the island has started to become a destination for adventuresome tourists. Ozzie deFaria dreams of bringing his family back to this island and others in the Cape Verde archipelago.
• Santa Luzia: In the early years after its discovery, Santa Luzia was a prosperous agricultural community. In the 18th century, the island became increasingly arid. Today, it does not receive enough rainfall to support agriculture or a large population.
• Sal: After it was first discovered, the island of Sal was prized for its salt mines. Its population and local economy developed around salt mining. The island has many white sand beaches, leading to the development of a thriving tourism industry.
• Boa Vista: Boa Vista is the third largest island in the Cape Verde archipelago. The island is known for its date farming, its endangered turtle species and the ultra-marathon that takes place there every year. Several large tourist resorts have been built there over the past five years.
The leeward islands are called the Sotavento islands. "Sotavento" means "leeward" in Portuguese. These islands have been inhabited for a much longer period of time than the Barlavento Islands.
• Brava: Brava is the smallest and greenest of the islands in the Cape Verde chain. Ozzie’s parents lived on Brava. The entire island is a layered volcano, known technically as a "stratovolcano." The island was uninhabited until the Portuguese first visited it in 1462. It became an important port of call for the whaling industry. Today, Brava is the least populated of the Cape Verde islands.
• Fogo: "Fogo" is the Portuguese word for "fire," notes Ozzie deFaria. It should come as no surprise that this island is an active volcano, too. Many of its residents emigrated to the United States or returned to Portugal. The island is known for its wine and coffee exports.
• Santiago: Cape Verde's capital city, Praia, is located on Santiago. Santiago is the most populous island in the Cape Verde chain. Half the island nation's residents live there, and its population has doubled since independence. Santiago is the most important agricultural center in Cape Verde. Its main crops are sugar cane, mangoes, bananas and coffee. The island is also developing resorts so it can lay claim to Cape Verde's burgeoning tourism industry.
• Maio: Maio is the only island in Cape Verdes that has a forest. At one time, the island was a center for salt mining and agriculture. Both of those industries have declined over the last 100 years.
Ozzie’s paresnt shared with him many pleasant memories of Cape Verde. Cape Verde is a beautiful place, but it has very limited opportunities to get ahead. Ozzie’s parents wanted to give their children a chance for a life that was better than their own. He is very grateful to his parents for enabling him to become the person he is today.
Ozzie deFaria spent much of his spare time in Florida doing volunteer work. He has been active in the amateur sports community. He has worked with young high school athletes who are hoping to translate their athletic skills into scholarships.
College athletics is in a time of great transition. As a devoted sportsfan, Ozzie deFaria asks: what will the future bring for college sports?
Although college athletes are classified as amateur athletes, they still earn big money for the colleges and universities they attend. Many of these institutions of higher learning sell television rights to games for large sums of money. College and university athletic departments may also receive funding in the form of corporate sponsorships.
College athletes are categorized as amateurs, which prevents them from receiving compensation. More and more money is being shunted toward college sports. This shift has led many analysts to wonder whether the existing situation is fair to college athletes. It may be time to retire the designation "student athlete" in favor of a fairer distribution of financial benefits.
Football is the largest moneymaker for most colleges and universities. These institutions consequently shunt a disproportionate amount of funds into football departments. Is this really fair to other sports departments? This trend is particularly devastating to women's sports teams, which may not have the financial earning potential of male sports.
Some sports economists are suggesting that college football departments need to form their own independent league. The college or university would essentially license its name to the respective teams, but the teams would operate separately. The teams would be their own corporate entities. Ozzie deFaria thinks this might prove to be an innovative solution to modern issues in college athletics.
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