A Little Brazillian Influence

A little Brazillian influence

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By Betsy Haugh / Scrimmageplay.com contributor

On July 10, Brazilian and American soccer fans were butting heads as they watched their national teams battle each other in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Quarterfinals. Just two weeks after the United States mounted a dramatic comeback to defeat Brazil on penalty kicks in what has been called the greatest Women’s World Cup game of all time, the two nations were back on the same side, working locally at the youth level at TetraBrazil camp.

TetraBrazil and MonU held a Brazillian-style soccer camp in town this week.

TetraBrazil is a branch of Challenger Sports, a British company, and during its week in Charlottesville, Monticello United Soccer Club (MonU) plays host to the camp.

“[TetraBrazil] gets Brazilian natives who are either former players from Brazil or they are currently playing in college here in the States. These guys are all born and raised in Brazil. They go around all summer to different parts of the country doing these camps,” said MonU President Pat Reilly, pointing out Virginia Beach and Tennessee as other notable camp locations.

The MonU – TetraBrazil partnership began four years ago thanks to MonU Technical Director Dan Ivory.

“I was actually looking for training possibilities for me as a coach in Brazil because I used to travel to Brazil to work, and being a soccer player from this area, going to Brazil is like going home, because you take a left out of the airport and there’s a soccer goal in a refugee dump,” Ivory said.  “So if you’re a soccer player it’s like the Mecca, and then going to some of the great stadiums there, it’s like ‘I need to bring some of this back home.’”

Ivory and MonU didn’t just want to bring an immense love of soccer to the area, but also a different way for the youth of Charlottesville to approach the game.

“[The Brazilian] emphasis is just completely on skills, skills, skills,” Reilly said, noting that even on the third day of the camp he hadn’t seen any scrimmages. “They believe in mastering the skills before going into the game.”

TetraBrazil director of coaching Marco dos Santos has been working with the camp for four years.

“We come really excited to see these kids, the American kids. They have a different culture of soccer, so we come here, like I said, excited to teach them the Brazilian way to play soccer, you know, try to keep the ball down. It’s more like a skillful game where we do a lot of touching drills, coordination, and all that kind of stuff,” dos Santos said.

“The kids always want to play, they just ask us the whole time out, I want to play this, I want to play that, I want to scrimmage, and we have to say no because we are here to make them better,” he said.

While at times it may be hard to corral some of the younger campers, the high-school aged campers enjoy the tactical element of the camp.

“[The Brazilian coaches] focus a lot more on the technical side of the game,” said Noah Rosner, a rising junior at Charlottesville High. “They focus a lot on dribbling and juggling, which really improves touch and you can’t really find that with many other coaches. Most coaches focus on fitness and other things, while the Brazilian coaches, they improve your skill a lot more.”

Elle Hall, a rising sophomore at William Monroe and a member of the school’s varsity squad, enjoys the consistency of the training while at camp.

“We work a lot more on technique, and instead of other camps doing like an hour or something, or one day, on dribbling, we incorporate everything everyday,” she said.

While the camp provides invaluable benefits for the players involved, it is also a great experience for MonU as an organization.

“When you’re trying to have a successful program, you don’t need to invent the wheel, you just look around and see who’s best and that’s the Brazilians, five time world champions; they have more pros in other countries, and they just have a great style of soccer that’s attractive, and they win. So when you’re looking around and you want to emulate and make your program successful, you naturally flow to the Brazilians, so it’s great that TetraBrazil has this program where they can actually bring the coaches from Brazil and bring that culture and enthusiasm,” Ivory said. 

After four successful years of TetraBrazil, MonU is hoping to continue putting the camp at the center of its summer soccer lineup.

“We want to do this again every year, [there’s] no end in sight,” Reilly said. “It’s something completely different for this area, and that’s what makes it great.”

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