Soccer all around the world is one of the most competitive and aggressive sports. Each country has its own way of promoting the sport and their local heroes. In some countries, soccer is related to religion and is a way out of the poverty-stricken lifestyles some face. Soccer is the favorite pastime in Brazil. Its streets and vacant lots are filled with children playing pickup games of soccer.
Families dream of their sons becoming one of the greatest players or equal to soccer legends such as, Pele of Brazil and teach their sons the basics of the sport at a young age while incorporating the importance of their faith and dedication o their country. Football in Brazil is more than just a sport, it is a way of life, just as religion.
Even though the game was introduced to their country by a European inspired Scotsman, their love of the sport has evolved into the nation’s lifestyle by creating a unique choreographed way of maneuvering the ball and displaying agilities that creates a mesmerizing thrill for spectators and have inspired others to learn their creative form. (Brazil Soccer) Brazilian citizens refer to their country as “o Pais do Futebol”, which means, “the country of football. (BRAZIL) National recognition to the game, its players, and its use to hape the economy, has drawn the interest of its citizens and has prompted them to be involved in improvements and the quest for a better government and lifestyle. Brazil’s rich and competitive history in the game of soccer, has helped shape the countries international reputation, as well as shaping their political views, religious beliefs, and moral. Although the Brazilian Football Confederation was founded in 1914, today Brazil can celebrate over 120 years of the game of soccer.
Soccer was introduced to Brazil by two Scotsmen in 1894 in two different parts of the country. Charles Miller and Thomas Donohue, both played a key part in forming the love affair between soccer and Brazil. Charles Miller first brought soccer to Sao Paulo, while at the same time, Thomas Donohue was shaping the game in Rio de Janeiro. But, it was Charles Miller, who gave the sport the competitive shape by being the first to formally play an organized game using association football rules with his team. Brocklebank) He taught the residents of Sao Paulo the skills and rules of the game and formed the first competitive team that won the first three championships. 1888, the first sports club was founded called the Sao Paulo Athletic Club and competed internationally with European teams. In 1910, after a tour from the Corinthians to Brazil the inspiration for a new team in Brazil took shape and was named the Corinthians by Charles Miller. (Wikipedia) – forwarding to present times, Because of Brazil’s passion for the game, it has earned 20 FIFA World Cup appearances, 5 FIFA World Cup victories, and 21 other FIFA Titles. Member Association)
No other country has won as many World cup victories as Brazil. Brazil is also known for producing more highly skilled competitive players not only for the Brazilian teams, but for many other country’s international teams. Brazil Soccer) There many players that have originated from Brazil’s team and are well-known around the world. To name a few; Ronaldihno, Zico, Tostao, Dunga, Rivaldo, Garincha, Taffarel, Ronaldo, Socrates, Romario, Cafu, and Bebeto but let’s look at the two athletes that are considered to be Brazil’s all-time greatest players: Arthur Friedenreich and Pele.
Both Arthur Friedenreich and Pele had to overcome poverty, adversity, and discrimination to play the most loved game in Brazil. In 1888, Slavery in Brazil was abolished, but blacks still faced persecution and discrimination by those who perceived themselves as nferior to other races. The many changes through the history of segregation and racism in Brazil opened the door for one the first Black superstars of Brazilian soccer, Arthur Friedenreich, who was born in 1892, just after the country’s monarchy was replaced by a Republican government in 1889. He was born in Sao Paulo to a poor German businessman and his mother an Afro-Brazillian.
Blacks’ were not allowed to play football in Brazil in the early 1900’s, but because he was mixed and had white European features and green eyes, Friedenreich was allowed to play the game that was mainly for the rich white people. Friedenreich was encouraged at a young age by his father who had been a member of SC Germania, a football club in Brazil formed and consisted of mainly German immigrants. (Soccer Politics: The Politics of Football) In 1909, at the age of 17, Friedenreich, he joined the SC Germania team and then on to become the first black man to play for the leagues of Brazil.
For twenty-six years he was moved from team to team with the longest he ever played for one team was with Paulistano from 1918 until 1929. Today, it is still claimed that he holds the title of leading scorer of all time but because of inaccurate records it s often disputed by some saying he scored 1,239 goals in 1,329 games while others believe he scored 1,329 goals in 1,239 games. Arthur Friedenreich was a social icon for the other black football players looking to play at the professional level. (Al- Khalil, Ramsey, Jordan Cirocco, and Halsey Friedel) Even with all his fame, Friedenreich still had to face segregation and racism.
Many times he could not participate in dining and other activities where public places only allowed whites. In 1921 Friedenreich, had one of his best years by scoring thirty-three goals and was believed by many to be the best player in the orld, but because of the fear that blacks would bring shame to Brazil, President Epitacio Pessoa would only allow white players to represent the country at the next Copa America that was to be held in Argentina, who was citizens were predominately white. This decision made a big impact on Friedenreich and Brazilian football and was the incident that pushed for discrimination to end in football. Gannon, Willie)
Edson Arantes Do Nascimento, who was nicknamed Pele by his peers, was born on October 23, 1940, in Tres Coracoes, Brazil, He is the son of a former minor league soccer player who taught Pele soccer t an early age. Pele also known as the ‘King of Football’ is widely viewed by Brazilians and many spectators in the world as the best player of all time. With his unique style and skills, Pele has scored a total of 1281 goals. (Kirby, Gentry) As a child, Pele worked various jobs to help earn money for his family.
Pele’s hard work paid off at an early age when he earned a spot on a team at the age of 11. At the age of 15, Pele was taken to Sao Paulo to try out for the major league teams and was rejected. He was then taken to Santos where he made the team and earned $60 a month. He gain more recognition when he was ent to play for the Vasco da Gama team in Rio de Janeiro. (“PelE Biography) Pele’s record is nothing less than impeccable. In 1958, at the age of 17, he was the youngest soccer player to score a goal in the World Cup goal against Wales. He is also the youngest player to play in a final game in the World Cup. “Pele Biography)
Both Pele and Friedenreich, helped shape the identity of Brazilian soccer in their time and left the people with their legacy by setting the standards for future players and for the identity of Brazil. Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world with two large cities with a diverse culture. Because of Brazil’s rich resources of iron ore, bauxite, manganese, nickel, uranium, gold, gemstones, oil, and timber, many immigrants from other countries came to mine the natural resources and brought in their cultures and practices. One of them being soccer, Brazil’s favorite pastime.
Brazil’s social structure is centered on family. Most families are large and live within the same community. They feel obligated to not only their immediate family but their extended family as well. Many of the children are treated as if they were adults and are included in adult activities as well as being responsible for producing income. Brazilian Family Values) With Soccer being a way out of poverty and almost like of being one of the Brazilian soccer heroes like Pele and going in the Major Soccer League and becoming an international star so thildren grow up working toward the goal that they can live better lifestyle. Cultural Anthropology/Play, Sport and Arts)
The beginning of soccer was from a European culture that helped shape the cultures of Brazil’s diverse population. As time passed, Brazilian culture shaped the pastime and in return the game shaped Brazil. (Soccerlens) After years of living under communist rule Protasio Vargas, the ost contested elections in the Brazil’s history was in 1960 presidential election of Conservative leaderJanio Quadros. It was considered by Brazilians a revolutionary break away from communist rule of Protasio Vargas.
His term was short when he resigned in 1961 and leaving Brazil with a temporary president and Brazil at the brink of a civil war. When Joao Goulart took the office of president, his radical views became controversial and showed cause for war minister Odilio Denys to demand Congress to hold new elections so that Goulart’s power would be limited.. After Congress refused the request, the military eaders against Goulart called to legislation and in 1961 adopted a parliamentary government that limited the presidential powers and gave most power to the newly created prime minister.
Throughout the issues of the Brazilian government the country suffered from economic issues of fast rising inflation of goods and living. Football was the least of the goverments worries. It was just a source of tax revenue. Even though the country itself was in trouble, Brazil’s Men’s National Football team was having a successful season. In 1970, Brazil was in another World Cup, but yet their home country was still uffering from poor government leadership led by General Emilio Garrastazu Medici, who used repression strategy to obtain economic growth.
Men and women were often imprisoned with no trial for being accused of revolutionary supporters. Amongst the corrupt and unstable government, the country turned to football as a way to show support for its nation and to watch Brazil earn another World Cup. (“Brazil. ” Soccer Politics: The Politics of Football) According to Brazil. org, Brazil has a population of about 190 million people. More than half are white which includes Portuguese, Italian, Polish and etc. and 40% are mixed race and less than 10% are black.
Amongst that population 80% profess the Roman Catholic faith. (BRAZIL) Much of Brazil’s religious belief is embedded into their daily life and is promoted through many avenues as well as soccer. In 2009, Brazil was scolded for their display of their faith after they stripped down to their shirts underneath their jerseys that stated,” I Belong to Jesus. ” (Shooting for Heaven) Religion and soccer go hand and hand in Brazil, because they both are loved and represent the Brazilian’s way of life, culture, and country’s international status as a contender.
In days of adversity, the people of Brazil still looked to their soccer team to show their support for their country. Their admirable display of patriotism during turning events in their history has shaped a nation with pride in their unique abilities on a soccer field. Much like religion, soccer is taught at an early age with the hopes that someday, the future generation of that family will be one o greats that have helped formed the nation that it is and to improve the lives of others by offering hope and providing new dreams for generations to come.
The Brazilian people have overcome much adversities, from colonialization, slavery, racism and segregation, to poverty and government corruption, but one thing that evolved into greatness that gave them international respect was the game of soccer. A game that no matter what is going on in their countries and individual lives, can offer them pride of being from Brazil.