Traditional sport in North America, American football conquers Brazil.
By Michael Saulnier
Football landed in Brazil in 1986. At first, it was played as a sort of beach football on the sands of Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro. Only after the start of the American National Football League (NFL) broadcasts in Brazil, did the number of people interested in learning to play traditional football and track the NFL matches through cable television increase.
With the rising popularity of the sport in Brazil, organizations have been dedicated to organizing official championships and training professional athletes. Among the football teams with more prominence and popularity in Brazil is Istepôs, which is part of the Santa Catarina Football League (LCFA).
Istepôs began as a weekend hobby in 2005, becoming, a few years later, a founding member of the LCFA and one of Brazil’s best performing professional teams. The team reached the playoffs for the SC Bowl, state championship, in 2009, 2010 and 2012, winning the SC Bowl championship title this year (2013). Now, the team is eyeing the title of national champion.
From a technical standpoint, Brazil’s football has made great progress, mainly due to the exchange of American players and coaches, and because of the inherent dedication of Brazil’s most committed athletes. According to Bruno Anderson, former president of Istepôs, even without formal support or notable coverage from Brazilian sports media, American Football has risen to become the second fastest growing sport in Brazil.
From the passion of a hobby to professional matches: that’s how Americans became the global power of this sport all over the world. Following the same path, Brazil is poised to transform football into a new Brazilian national passion.