Wake up- 8:00am bedtime- 6:00 am ! Longest day ever enjoyed every second of it. back to the favellas for day 2 of soccer with the kids. Soccer drills and games turned into dancing samba lessons and singing justin bieber. Even though we were there for a short time we truly did form friendships and bonds, language barriers aside talking and dancing together and taking lots of pictures made us feel so close to each other. One of the little girls gave Krista her necklace and we shared all of our silly bands with them. Seeing their houses was amazing and hearing that it is their biggest dream to go to disney world made us realize how well we have it and I am amazed that with the tiny houses some without doors but they do have a soccer field to come and play on which is even hard to find in some US towns.
One boy shavall (Jean Paol) around 10 years old was amazing to watch as he balanced the ball on his back and took of his shirt we all cheered for him. Fizz did a juggling trick and then he would do the same and vice versa, he didn’t speak a lot of english but would clap to say good job after she did a trick. Coach and him also bonded a lot and before leaving coach gave him his cross necklace one boy walked with us all the way back to the bus and said he would keep us is his hearts as he held up his hands making a heart, we all did it back as we waved out the bus windows sad to leave.
We stopped at a famous tree house which words won’t even do justice so please wait for pictures to follow. Back to the hotel for quick lunch and change clothes for our 7 v 7 game vs a team in red jerseys. It was a smaller turf field and we tied 2-2 megan and krista scored off of two headers from corners (which are corner throws here not corner kicks) from brooke and thorpe. After the game we took more pictures and met a player from the full brazil national team. After the game back to the hotel for quick dinner and change again to go to Sao Paulo game!!
We heard how crazy these games were and were all excited but it was a complete culture shock walking into the stadium. Thousands on people were chanting and we can hear hear the yelling from inside the stadium blocs away. We hand in our tickets linked arms with buddies as everyone stares ( we stand out just a little bit haha) then insanity begins I think its safe to say I have never been so close to any of my teammates as I was standing in the entrance to our gate in the stadium. We were pressed up so close to each other and everyone trying to get through the crowd to get to our seats in a single file chain trying so hard not to get separated. we make it to the top climbing the seats we are looking around and there is no football game, Superbowl, world series, or any kind of game that even comes close to comparing to this. Trying to explain the atmosphere is difficult to do but we do have some videos of the cheers and crowd that will hopefully help.
If you like soccer at all this is honestly an experience of a lifetime that I suggest putting on your bucket lists. Sao paulo scores first and the crowd erupts and cheers (they are already standing because no one sits at these games) but people bring out huge flags and red flares. Halftime= most interesting trip to the bathroom any of us have experienced. About 5 of us head down and you would have thought we were the most famous A list celebrity in america everyone not only stared but clapped and cheered as we walked by it was a standing ovation the entire way, and we were called beautiful and told I love you too more times then I can even count no line at the bathroom but we were handed toilet paper pre ripped for us before entering to take in with us..and were told not to flush it (side note coach just told us there are panthers and monkeys in this forest we are driving through.. I hope we have a picture to show soon) back to the game, we hike back up cheering and find out not many people know what pennsylvania is so we start saying we are from USA instead.
The game ends sao paulo wins 2 1 but needed to win by 2 goals to advance so the crowd was not celebrating. (sorry for the spelling and lack of punctuation just remember I’m going on 2 hours of sleep) we track back to the bus and try to decide the ultimate question: do we go to out and samba or go and sleep since its already past 12? some of decide that even though we have to wear sneakers, coach said sandals are against the rules, we put on some nicer shirts and go out with two of our awesome guides Marco and G . We took taxis and entered through the VIP entrance! ( A 50 dollar cover charge for everyone else was 1$ for us thanks to Marco) we are getting use to the staring by now so we go to front near the stage with the band and bright flashing lights. We dance and take pictures and found people who said more words in English than I love you and You’re beautiful.
Their way of dancing is nothing like our American way. We were dancing out of place until they put on I’ve got a feeling by the Black Eyed Peas. They then circled around us to watch us dance and fist pump like champs. We made some new friends, one being the owners son who gave us VIP passes to the VIP room. Looks like being beautiful and American pays off. When it was time to leave, the entire group was confused as to why, but then realized it was 4am. The Brazilians were also confused as to why we were leaving because to them the night was young and still had a few good hours in them. We decided that we were VERY hungry and needed food ASAP and found a 24 hour Burger King up the street. Wow, we need these in america. We take some taxis back to the hotel, where we finally convince G and Marcos to beat box and sing Bobby Knight to us. We say our goodbyes to them in the lobby and try to convince both of them to come to the beach with us in a few hours. Unfortunately they decline the offer but we hope to stay in touch. Finally around 5:30, everyone returned to their rooms to pack and get a few hours of sleep before the drive in the morning. BEST.DAY.EVER. !!
Written and Illustrated by:
Ashley Thorpe, Brittany Ely, Megan Clementson, and Brooke Edwards
Michele (Brazilian Women’s Nat’l Team) is in a green jacket, top row, 2nd from right. We will play against her and her club team Palmerias next Wed.