Six years ago, the planning and organizing started when Coach Rafael Soares made the comment, "I would love to take the Vipers to Brazil when they turn 14!" After the comment, conversations turned into planning and fundraising and the MVLA Vipers Program sent 20 players including two from Jaguars to Rio De Janeiro for a trip of their lifetime!
The trip started with a cultural tour of the Crist Redeemer, one of the greatest wonders of the world, before their training started at CFZ ((Zico's Training Academy owned by ZICO (Arthur Antunes Coimbra)).
The boys spent a week attending double sessions of training at the academy, training with Brazilian players their own age and older. In addition to the training, they played two games against Brazilian teams. The last match, with a crowd of Brazilian parents alongside a handful of Vipers' parents, our US team pulled a 1-0 victory beating Brazil! Tyler Poulsen exclaimed, "Brazil was an amazing experience I will never forget with a great group of soccer guys!" At the end of the week, our boys became Instagram and Facebook friends with the Brazilian players.
Parents and players both observed not only the level of competition of soccer in Brazil, but the love and passion everywhere! In the US we have re-runs of Seinfeld and Friends on television. In Brazil, they replay World Cup 1994, or past Pele matches during the day when there are no other "live" soccer matches going on.
The trip lasted only 10 days but the experience will last their lifetime. Ethan Briens, one of the players said, "Brazil is some of the best moments of my soccer career. Playing in a different environment with different players and coaches is an experience not many people can have. Seeing for yourself that a ball brings together so many people from everywhere is priceless. Definitely would do again."