WOODBERRY FOREST, Va. (CBS19 Sports) -- Playing Division I sports: what some kids would say is the American Dream.
"As a kid growing up I've wanted to play college football in America, cause that's kinda like the big stage of college sports," said senior linebacker Mathieu Masse-Pelletier.
Masse-Pelletier, from Quebec, came to Woodberry Forest looking for that chance.
Growing up, Mathieu played a mix of Canadian and American football.
"So American rules with some Canadian rules on a Canadian field, so it was kinda a transition coming here," said Masse-Pelletier.
"We didn't quite know what to expect with Mathieu," said head coach Scott Braswell. "I had seen film of him and thought he was a good football player. But having said that, just wasn't sure how it was gonna translate into American football."
When he made the decision to spend his final two years of school in Virginia, he quickly picked up the Woodberry ways.
"He took to it quickly, he really did. I mean, he's just a natural," said Braswell.
"I feel like it's the perfect set up to just pursue my dream of college football and just get better with school as well," said Masse-Pelletier.
His background in Canadian football has helped him on the field as a linebacker.
"The fact that the field is bigger kinda helped me get used to open field tackles because running backs usually have so much more space and its easier to tackle when they have smaller gaps," said Masse-Pelletier.
And quickly becoming a leader on the team, in the classroom and around campus.
"That's the type of kid he is that he can make that strong of an impression that quickly on his classmates, his teachers, his coaches," said Braswell.
After a shortened recruitment process, Mathieu now has that chance to play football at the next level: committing to UMass Amherst.
"I really appreciated that they believed in me from the first day they saw my film," said Masse-Pelletier.
With plans to take a pre-med track. in hopes of one day becoming a doctor:
"I took biology here and that's where I kinda realized why I really love school," said Masse-Pelletier.
Going to school in the Northeast, not too far from home:
"It's a five hour drive, five or six hours," said Masse-Pelletier. "So my mom's saying that she's gonna come to every home game. It's gonna be a big thing cause she used to come to every game when I was in Quebec but she didn't get to do that here."
Mathieu has big dreams for the future.
"I just wanna be the best in everything I do and football is just something I love, so it's something I love and I wanna be the best at it," said Masse-Pelletier."