UHV student-athlete scores goals in soccer, academics

Sharp, business-minded student Gian Marco Zancanaro came to the University of Houston-Victoria with two things in mind: a degree in international business and to play soccer.

Gian Marco Zancanaro

Zancanaro, 24, of Bassano del Grappa, Italy, transferred to UHV in 2017 from City College of San Francisco after being recruited to the UHV men’s soccer team. Zancanaro decided two years earlier to attend college in the U.S. to have an opportunity to learn a new language and culture. The UHV soccer team is very diverse, which is one of the reasons he likes being on the team.

“I’ve learned different cultures, so I’m very multicultural,” he said.  “I speak three languages: Italian, English and Spanish, so that’s a plus since I am studying international business. I will be able to interact with more people.”

The UHV senior said he had to study hard to learn English for the English as a Second Language test in order to be able to take college courses in the U.S. He earned his Associate of Science in social and behavioral sciences at the City College of San Francisco.

Zancanaro has proven to be successful as both an athlete and student. He was honored in the UHV President’s List in the spring and fall semesters of 2018 and was recognized as a 2018 Daktronics NAIA Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete. He also was honored for his play on the pitch and was named the Red River Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week last season. In 2018, he played 15 games as a forward, scored six goals, and took 21 shots, including 11 shots on goal.

“Playing soccer has some requirements, so it pushes me to do even better in academics to keep playing,” Zancanaro said. “It also helps me culturally because there are people from all over the world playing. I get to know many different types of people and their ways of doing things.”

Aside from being a successful UHV student, he interned in the sales department for the business Arneg S.p.A in Italy this past summer. Arneg manufactures refrigerators, hot cases, nonrefrigerated cabinets and various other products, then distributes them to big businesses, such as Costco and Whole Foods. He hopes to get a sales job in the sports industry after graduating from UHV.

“What really sparked my interest in sports is how you work and support what you see on the field,” Zancanaro said. “I’ve always been intrigued with what’s happening backstage. I want to help and contribute to the final product, which is the performance on the field.”

When asked what he misses most from Italy, he said it’s his friends and family.

Zancanaro enjoys playing drums, cooking and playing sports during his free time.

“My girlfriend and I enjoy cooking together. Sports-wise, I ski and snowboard, but soccer is my main sport. I also play tennis.”

Zancanaro said he has enjoyed his time at UHV and will have fond memories. His favorite class is “Business Statistics.” He also likes being a statistics and mathematics tutor at the UHV tutoring center.

“What I like about UHV is it’s in a small town, and you get to know everybody,” Zancanaro said. “You’re familiar with all of the faces, and you say ‘hello’ to everybody. It’s very intimate, and you have a closer relationship with everyone.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Lisa Shapiro, Special to UHV