On a team already loaded with depth, exchange student Jose Barretto was a nice addition to the Bexley High School boys tennis team.

On a team already loaded with depth, exchange student Jose Barretto was a nice addition to the Bexley High School boys tennis team.

Barretto, from Brazil, opened 5-2 at second singles. However, his American scholastic career came to an end as he returned home last Monday. He closed his successful stint at Bexley by winning his final two matches last Saturday against Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit and Toledo Maumee Valley.

Barretto's two losses were to Andrew Enslen of Columbus Academy 7-6, 6-1 and Philip Diaz of Watterson 6-1, 6-1.

"I've only known him for the last month or so when tennis began," coach G.J. Seckel said. "He's a real nice kid. He's got a passion for tennis. He just loves to play. We haven't had a player like that in a long time. He competes in practice just like it's a match."

The Lions will take advantage of their depth, as Sam Brock will move into the second-singles spot, according to Seckel.

"We can compete with anybody depth-wise," Seckel said.

"When I decided to go back early that was one of the reasons I didn't want to go back because I wanted to play for the team," Barretto said. "I didn't want to leave the team, but I miss my family."

Nicknamed Guto, Barretto previously lived in Boston at age 4 while his mother, Eliza, completed a program at Harvard. He returned to Brazil a year later and continued his tennis career.

Barretto returned to the United States as part of the American Field Service program in late August and quickly adapted to the American lifestyle.

"I like it here because you can drive when you're 16," he said. "I can't drive at 16 in Brazil. I like the opportunities here. They really support you in sports. I came here with the idea not to study English, but just to learn it. My grades are fine."

He resided in Bexley with the Serpicos, his host family.

Barretto noted that high school athletics are much more structured in the United States. The tennis is also different as most Brazilians play on a clay court rather than the hard courts used at the scholastic level here.

"The tennis is much faster here," Barretto said. "The competition here is very hard. Everybody is really into it. Nobody wants to just have fun; they really want to win the game. I like to have fun.

"There are not a lot of teenagers playing tennis in Brazil. There are more adults. Here they want to get college scholarships. They don't have those in Brazil."

"Most of our guys play year-round, but he has a big clay court game," Seckel said. "He has a clay court in his backyard. In South America, clay courts are the big thing. He's had to adjust a little bit to hard courts. He has a lot of variety to his game. He doesn't like to come to the net very often because you don't do that on clay courts. He's got good stories. I think the kids have learned from him."

Barretto hopes to return to Columbus in December to visit his new friends and American family. He vows to remain in contact with his American friends through the Internet.

"I made some good friends here," Barretto said. "My family was really good to me."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Bexley boys tennis team:

*April 22 -- Lost to Columbus Academy 5-0

April 23 -- Defeated Wellington 4-1 in OTCA Division II tournament. Winners were Jose Barretto at second singles 6-0, 6-0, Sam Brock at third singles 6-0, 6-0, Fred Hoffman and David Edelstein at first doubles 6-1, 6-4 and Alex Morton and Josh Katz at second doubles 6-1, 6-0.

*April 24 -- Def. Grandview 5-0

Last Saturday -- Def. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 3-2; def. Toledo Maumee Valley 3-2

Last Monday -- Def. St. Charles 5-0

*Last Tuesday -- Played Fisher Catholic

Last Wednesday -- Played DeSales

Monday -- At Worthington Kilbourne

*Tuesday -- Home vs. West Jefferson

Of note: The Lions were 11-1 overall and 3-1 in the MSL-Cardinal/Ohio before last Tuesday.

*MSL-Cardinal/Ohio match