Brazilian soccer grows in Ontario

Interview with Rafael Gouvea, technical director of the Brazilian Soccer Academy.

By Cristiana Moretzsohn

Undoubtedly, Brazilian football is synonymous with talent and a lot of goals. And of course, since Brazil will be hosting the next World Cup in 2014 we see more and more interest in Brazilian sports and culture, not only in Canada but around the world. Canada still has a long way to go in excelling in this sport, but if they rely on the help of the “Brazilian way” this hockey country can go far with the goals and dribbling of soccer.

Wave spoke with the paulista Rafael Gouvea, technical director of the Brazilian Soccer Academy, a soccer academy that belongs to the Ontario League and has great aspirations for children and youth athletes in Toronto. The aim of the school is grandiose. It wants to provide opportunities for scholarships through soccer, to direct youth to a possible career in sports, to partner with organizations in different countries and, above all, to provide a healthy life away from drugs. Rafael is very excited about his small players and has already begun to reap the fruits of his technical work. The Sub-13 team was champion of the Toronto Futsal League and the Sub-10 team qualified for the playoffs in Ontario.

The Brazilian Soccer Academy has partnered with the Brazilian clubs São Paulo FC and Corinthians, and is affiliated with Sporting Toronto, an association that sends its best players to the tryouts in Portuguese clubs. Rafael believes that the sport is growing every day in Canada, in acceptance and mainly in talent, benefitting the new generation of boys and girls with a future of beautiful goals.

 How and when did the Brazilian Soccer Academy start?
RG: Seeing a need for greater involvement of Brazilian children with physical activity, and the lack of the “Brazilian way” in teaching soccer here in Canada, the idea of creating a “Brazilian Soccer Academy” came to fruition a year and a half ago.

Tell us a little about the program and what it offers.
RG: The program is divided into two stages and three phases in each step. The steps are divided with futsal in the winter and soccer in summer. In futsal, the child develops motor skills and reasoning speed and that’s when we emphasize the basic principles of soccer and creative freedom.  In soccer, the activities are developed according to individual needs, optimizing player quality and correcting faults. At this stage, we work hard at timeline and speed exercises.

The three phases are divided into Beginner, where the child starts to have a greater and immediate contact with the ball, Intermediate, where we include more complex technical training and optimize the basic fundamentals of soccer (passing, dribbling, shooting) and Advanced, where students are able to play tournaments and championships as the end result.  Students are placed in the appropriate level according to their skills and learning needs.

 Are you part of the Ontario League?
RG: We played two major tournaments during this year. The Toronto Futsal League (winter), our first year and our U-13 team was the champion! And we also played in the DHSL League (summer), in which we classified for the playoffs with our U-10 team. All are official Ontario leagues.

The Brazilian Soccer Academy will hold a soccer camp in Brazil in March 2012 with Corinthians and São Paulo FC. What are the expectations?
RG: We will have our first Soccer Camp in Brazil and the expectations are as high as possible! We have professionals that will assist us in Brazil and a very competent team that will accompany our athletes. Our goal is that our students can experience the Brazilian soccer played there, and through this sport exchange, show a little of our culture.

 How does soccer help in forming a child’s character?
RG: It is the duty of every teacher, together with the parents, to work together for the character development of the youngster. Through soccer (and many other group activities), they learn to win and lose, to respect the adversary, to work in groups, to divide tasks and to share adversity. They learn how to detect errors, faults and overcome them.

[quote]We will have our first Soccer Camp in Brazil and the expectations are as high as possible![/quote]

 What opportunities do you believe that soccer can foster?
RG: The Brazilian Soccer Academy, through soccer, provides the opportunity for new friendships and integration not only among athletes but also among the families concerned. In professional terms, the opportunities will depend on each athlete. We provide the tools for the student to use it in the best way possible, always with guidance.

 Brazilian soccer is synonymous with talent and creativity. How is it seen in the eyes of a Canadian child?
RG: Exactly like that. Brazilian Soccer is seen as talent and creativity. To have “Brazil” in the name of the academy was our challenge, and today we have a responsibility to maintain that objective which is to present serious soccer, but played with joy and creativity.

 How do you see the future of soccer in Canada?
RG: Canada is still lagging behind in soccer, just as Brazil is still lagging behind in hockey. The realities are different. However, there is a lot of talent in the Canadian league and I believe that with good basic training, Canada can achieve a higher level in soccer. I believe that since the second to last World U-20 that took place here in Canada, there was an increase in investments in the sport and people began to accept soccer more here.

[quote]To have “Brazil” in the name of the academy was our challenge, and today we have a responsibility to maintain that objective which is to present serious soccer, but played with joy and creativity.[/quote]

Any message for our readers?
RG: I would like to take this opportunity to tell parents to encourage their children to do physical activities, no matter which one. The Brazilian Soccer Academy prides itself on “inclusion” and the doors are open to all ethnicities! Children in sports are synonymous with healthy children – away from drugs!

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