Recent Rangers signing Ualefi Rodrigues dos Reis, or simply Ualefi, enters the soccer scene in the U.S. after rising through the ranks at one of the most successful clubs in Brazilian soccer history – Corinthians.
Born in Sao Paulo, Ualefi joined his local team Corinthians as a 13-year-old in 2007. He spent the next eight years honing his skills as he moved through the age groups of the team’s Academy, and was even afforded the chance to train with a first team that contained the legendary Ronaldo prior to his retirement in 2011.
Ualefi would split time training with the first team and the Academy during his later years with Corinthians, winning several youth tournaments including the 2011 IX Copa Ouro and Mundialito de Clubes Under-17 tournaments, while his side also claimed the 2012 Copa Sao Paulo de Juniores.
Following a brief stint with neighboring club Flamengo’s Academy in 2012, Ualefi returned to Corinthians before heading to Kansas City ahead of the Swope Park Rangers’ first-ever USL season in 2016.