Brazil Travel

History of Soccer

Soccer was first brought to Brazil, according to one version of its history, by the British and Dutch sailors in the second half of the nineteenth century, who played those early games on the beaches of the Northeastern coastline. Claims are also made, however, that a certain Mr Hugh was the first to teach the game to the workers on the S?o Paulo Railway in Jundia? in 1882, or it might have been Mr John, who taught the Leopoldina Railway workers to play soccer in 1875 or 1876.

There is very little substantiated evidence to support these stories. It is, however, a fact that a certain Charles Miller, who was born in Brazil in 1874, and was educated in England, brought the first soccer and soccer equipment back to Brazil with him when he returned there in 1894. The first official soccer match was played in S?o Paulo at the V?rzea do Carmo in 1894. It was an immediate success. On the 18th August 1898 the first official club team was formed by the Associa??o Atl?tica of Mackenzie College in S?o Paulo. After this, enthusiasm spread like wildfire and soccer was soon being played all over Brazil. Only three years later, in 1901, the S?o Paulo league was formed.

In 1900 the first stadium was converted in S?o Paulo to be used exclusively for soccer. It was named the "Vel?dromo Paulista" and was in continuous use until it was pulled down to make way for something better in 1914. The first international match also took place in S?o Paulo when a scratch team drew 2 x 2 with a strong Argentine side on July 2nd, 1908. The first British team to play in Brazil were the Corinthians in 1910 which inspired the formation of what is one of the most popular teams in Brazil, the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista.

Brazilian soccer improved as the players became more skilful, and in 1927 the Clube Atl?tico Paulistano were invited to tour Europe. They were the first Brazilian team to tour abroad and displayed those qualities which were soon to make Brazil a major world soccer power. Paulistano played 10 matches in France, Switzerland and Portugal, competing against the principal clubs and national teams. They won 9 of their matches losing only once, scoring 31 goals and conceding only 7. Professional soccer was only introduced in 1933, and even then it was in the teeth of considerable opposition from die-hard amateurs. This caused a serious split in the organisation of the game, which was only healed after the 1934 World Cup series. Because of the rift, Brazil was not able to field full strength teams in the 1930 and 1934 World Cup competitions.

Between 1933 and 1980, the Confedera??o Brasileira de Desportos - the Brazilian Sports Conferation - C.B.D. - which was in fact founded on the 8th June 1914 - exercised control over soccer, as well as the following sports: Archery, Athletics, Baseball, Indoor Soccer, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Handball, Hockey, "Malha" (quoits), Swimming, Table Tennis and Water Polo..... 20 amateur sports and a single professional one, Soccer. The main source of income was a 5% tax on the gross receipts of any sporting event under its jurisdiction, soccer thereby supporting all other events.

In 1980, it was decided to separate soccer from all the other sports under the old CBD's control. So the Confedera??o Brasileira de Futebol (C.B.F.) came into existence, and immediately put into effect measures to improve and re-organise soccer in Brazil. One of the first decisions taken was to appoint a full-time team Manager. Secondly, the idea of a "Team in being" was put into operation, with the national team playing every four months, with only minimal preparation. A new soccer calendar was organised, participation of the clubs in the profits of the soccer pools (Loteria Esportiva) arranged, and the tax of 5% paid by the clubs on their gate money was abolished.

The formation of a group of experts first implemented by the old CBD has been continued under CBF. This group is selected with the object of doing everything possible to ascertain that all "off the field" problems are eliminated so as give the team the best possible chance of victory. The group, known as the "Technical Commission", includes: a supervisor; a manager; several trainers; 2-4 physical training instructors; 2 doctors and a specialised trainer exclusively for Brazil's goalkeepers - Brazil was the first country to appreciate the fact that goalkeepers require special training methods that cannot be aplied to the outfield players, and consequently require the attention of an individual coach.

When the players first report, they undergo a stringent full medical examination by a team of specialised dentists, doctors, dieticians, pedicurists, etc. all under the direct control of the team doctors. The physical condition of the player is programmed so as to have him at peak fitness at the start of the second period of the competition. Normally, it is the practice to have the team at a high altitude for at least one month's training immediately prior to the World Cup. This increases the red corpuscles in the blood, giving greater resistance. However, nowadays this is becoming more and more difficult to implement as the great majority of the principal Brazilian players are playing for foreign clubs.

No detail is too small for consideration. For example, the grounds where matches are to be played are checked beforehand, as close as possible to match conditions, and always at the time of day that Brazil's match is due to be played. Many important details are discovered and passed on. Conditions of the dressing rooms and corridors are also verified; access and departure times covering the journey from stadium to hotel are checked; availability of medical facilities and distance of hospitals from the hotels/stadium are recorded. Other points noted are: steepness of stairs in hotels, etc. (pulled muscles); length of grass on the field; ground conditions; relaxation facilities for the players and full length feature films and video machines are hired; shopping facilities are investigated and host of other factors are examined. A completely private hotel outside the city limits is essential for the peace of the players. This also enables them to relax without constant pressure from the press or from the fans. The Technical Commission advise on the selection of the team, but the Manager always has the last word. It is normal practice for Brazil to select State teams to represent the country in some competitions. Eventually some 30 players are selected from which the final 22 to represent Brazil in the World Cup are chosen.

Floodlit Soccer: The first ever Brazilian floodlit soccer match was played on the 23rd June 1923. The pitch was illuminated with the headlights of the cities Trams. The game was between A.A. Rep?blica and S.E. Linhas e Cabos (both teams have since disappeared), and was won by Rep?blica by 2 x 1. The first soccer stadium to install floodlights was S?o Janu?rio (Vasco da Gama) on 31st April 1928 - just one year after the stadium was built. The use of the white ball was pioneered by S?o Paulo F.C., who had a natural leather brown ball painted white. There is no doubt that soccer in Brazil is the national sport; wherever there is an open space you will find children and grown men kicking a ball around. The worker's idea of a lunch-time break is to organise a "pelada" - (a scratch game, with coats as goalposts, as often as not, two rolled-up socks as ball). In the interior of Brazil, wherever there is a small settlement you will find a soccer pitch. Even in the almost unexplored forests of Amazonas and Par?, you will find a clearing surrounded by lofty trees and dense undergrowth, hundreds of miles from the nearest electric installation, and two teams hotly engaged in a soccer match, watched by a group of Indians as fanatical as any supporters in the world. On Copacabana beach several championships are played. Some pitches are even foodlit and every Saturday afternoon goalposts and nets are erected and league games are played. The teams play 30 minutes each way barefoot. The sides of the "field" are limited by the sea on one side and the roadway wall on the other. The championships are organized by the C.B.F. and some 10,000 clubs register for the competition. The teams play in their own strip. As can be imagined, considerable skill is required to control the ball on the soft sand, and from this ready made "nursery" several players have graduated to professional teams. These games attract large crowds and support for the teams is considerable, especially when local districts are opposing each other.

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