Local Folks: Carlos Bouvier

Local Folks: Carlos Bouvier
Carlos Bouvier

Carlos Bouvier is on the ball here in Jacksonville! A soccer ball, that is. When he’s not making documentary films for a living, he’s in the park and on the field.

Bouvier is a San Marco resident. Afternoons find him at Alexandria Oaks, which he refers to as “Our little super-secret, our beautiful park away from the big streets.”

Bouvier is not on an official team. Often, he trains alone—kicking and running. “That’s my fun!” he said.

Bouvier has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember. A native of Uruguay, like all boys in the country, he received his first soccer ball for his first Christmas, before he even started walking. “Uruguay is a soccer-crazy country,” he said. Despite how small they are geographically, they are winners of the World Cup. Bouvier recalls playing in the streets and on the beach as a child. “It’s part of the culture,” he said.

Although there are several soccer enthusiasts in San Marco, including a FIFA referee (Federation Internationale de Football Association), in order to play in a team setting, Bouvier must cross the river and go to Riverside, where soccer is a more organized sport. On Saturdays, he partakes in pickup games with players of varying ages and skill levels at Memorial Park. He’s trying to convince his Riverside soccer friends to come and play in San Marco occasionally in order to add soccer to the activities available to residents of his local community.

Carlos Bouvier, soccer enthusiast
Carlos Bouvier, soccer enthusiast

Bouvier enjoys the physical fitness that comes from playing regularly in addition to the social aspect of the sport. It has a therapeutic effect on him. He’s able to disconnect from worldly responsibilities and undue stress when he’s kicking a soccer ball. It’s his yoga, and he plans to play for as long as his body will allow.

Bouvier bought a house in San Marco six years ago after living at The Beaches. “I dreamed about living in this part of town. I love the history of it. I’m incredibly happy here,” he said, though he does have concerns about the explosive growth of the area. He likes the architecture here, the people even more.

“I’ve been around the neighborhood for over 20 years,” Bouvier said. And, for him, that’s like living a dream. As an only child and into his teen years, in addition to playing a lot of soccer, he watched a lot of TV while his parents worked. His favorite shows and movies featured the United States. “It became my promise land. I felt like I belonged here,” he said. So, in 1992, at age 22, he left his native country. Via friends and an easier immigration process, he headed to Montreal, Canada first before coming to Jacksonville in 1999.

For 10 years, Bouvier was a photojournalist for channel 4. He worked for a couple of years as a documentary director at PBS. In 2008, he shifted to home-based freelance work. He makes documentaries for nonprofits, for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, and others.

Bouvier films and produces for fun, too. In 2018, he made a short film for the Northeast Florida Soccer League to post on their Facebook page. This year, to celebrate Earth Day, he filmed around San Marco and produced a short story video that he uploaded to YouTube for residents to enjoy.

Bouvier is the only member of his family who left South America. His dad passed away there a few years ago. His mom, aunts, and cousins still live there. He visits them annually, with the exception of 2020; the pandemic curtailed his travel. He plans on seeing them again this Christmas and will look forward to his return flight to Florida.

“I’m pretty in love with San Marco,” Bouvier said. He’s pretty in love with soccer, too!

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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