Collegiate soccer players kick it in Brazil

Athletes play futbol in São Paulo

Holmes Spencer, Quinn, Alsop

Ruby Yuan, Staff

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During the 2016 spring break from March 4-13, some soccer players will participate in a train­ing program in São Paulo, Brazil, the only country that has won the World Cup five times.

The organizer, varsity soccer coach and native Brazilian Cesar Rizzo, said his inspiration to organize this trip came from his passion for soccer.

“All Brazilians are passionate for soccer, and every time I have the opportunity to share this feeling with my soccer players and friends, I try my best,” he said. “I hope they can feel this passion for the game of soccer while in Brazil.”

Coach Rizzo also said he ap­preciated the help of Athletic Director Jon Hall, who encour­aged and supported him to put this trip together.

“The mission is to offer an opportunity for American youth soccer players to interact with the Brazilian football (soccer) style and culture,” Coach Rizzo said. “The most important point of this trip is to feel the soccer atmosphere and interact with its dimensions on and off the field.”

According to Coach Rizzo, the schedule will be very intense with many activities, such as having soccer practices, playing games, watching official match­es, visiting Brazilian restaurants and shopping at malls.

“Our soccer players will be coached by professional Brazilian coaches,” he said. “[They] will be practicing in a real soccer en­vironment with Brazilian youth players and have the opportunity of having Brazilian soccer play­ers playing with them during football games, scrimmages and friendly matches.”

In addition to training, Coach Rizzo said the soccer players will be watching professional matches of top Brazilian teams such as São Paulo F.C. and S.E. Palmeiras at the teams’ stadiums in order to feel the soccer energy and excitement of Brazilian fans.

“In regards of learning aspects of Brazilian culture, our student athletes will have the oppor­tunity [to learn] Portuguese Language, [experiment with] the Brazilian culinary, [such as] the famous Brazilian churrasco and enjoy customs, habits and views of Brazilian cities,” he said.

“This trip interested me be­cause Brazil is home to some of the best soccer in the world. This trip will allow me to go out of my comfort zone and compete with players that are as good as me or better,” Sarah L. Smith’18 said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the country while learning from the best.”

Sarah said she also hopes to learn how to depend on herself when the other players are not able to cover for her.

Although the Zika fever virus erupted recently, Coach Rizzo said since most of the areas af­fected by the mosquitoes are in the northeastern regions of Bra­zil, which is not the area the trip will be going to; the trip has not been affected. However, he said it is important to keep aware of the situation and any updated information.

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