One of the few things that I knew about Brazil before I came was that soccer was a huge part of the culture. As an avid soccer fan I was excited to be able to immerse myself in a culture that shared the same love for soccer that I have. I was going to be in the country that had won the most World Cups and is the home to some of the best players to ever step foot on the pitch. I have seen sports bars showing Brasileiro Série A matches and street art that has been inspired by the game. These experiences have made me feel like I was at home in a culture that understood my passion for soccer. The greatest experience has been our visit to Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo.
Our stop at Pacaembu was during our tour of the city. I wanted to be the first one out of the bus, but I had made the mistake of sitting towards the back. As we shuffled out I grew more and more excited to be at the stadium. It was a dream come true. We went inside and saw a pristine field and numerous seats all around. Our liaison’s husband told Dr. Starr and I that this stadium had previously been the home of Corinthians, the current champions of the Brasileiro Série A, until they moved to Corinthians Arena after it was built for the 2014 World Cup. I was in awe of the fact that I was in a professional stadium in Brazil. We then looked at the shop that was at the stadium. It was full of new and vintage jerseys. I felt like I could see the history and evolution of the game just by looking at them. Even though I could not be the first one out I was the last one on the bus. I could still see images of players wearing the jerseys I just saw.
The World Cup starts next month on June 14th, with Brazil playing its first match on the 17th. For the tournament people around the world come together to watch the beautiful game. My experience in Brazil has shown me the beauty of soccer off the pitch through art, architecture, and clothing. I love soccer and I am grateful that I have been able to experience a new aspect of the game here in Brazil.