Kings of carnival | South Florida–based Brazilians make sacred time for futebol

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Link to Flickr Carnaval for more pictures of the 2006 eventMiami | Eyes turn toward Brazil when considering links between football and the pre-Lenten season. Rio and São Paulo clubs exist symbiotically with samba schools that parade to the sambadrome during the Rio Carnaval.

Yet a recent article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel makes even clearer, from talking with expatriate Brazilians in Miami, the strong cultural connections among carnival, the African-Brazilian martial art of capoeira and futebol. Several thousand celebrated in Miami after the Brazilian victory in the 2002 World Cup finals, and carnival preparations are extensive among the some 200,000 Brazilians in the three-county area. Sunday-morning park football also provides a staple cultural activity for Brazilian men. Says Wagner Uchoa, founder of one of the area clubs, Boca Brazil Sports Club:

For them, it’s like church every Sunday. They can party all night long, but no one will miss it. It’s a passion. Soccer is inside your body when you are born. The first thing you get when you are a baby is a little soccer ball.

As for the Brazilian national team, its carnival festivities conclude tomorrow in Moscow, where they encounter Russia in an international friendly. Gametime temperatures of 9 degrees Fahrenheit are forecast.

Miami FC. Link to Miami Herald article.Update: Miami’s Brazilian flair will find expression in Miami FC, featuring goal-scoring legend Romario de Souza Faria and midfielder Crizam Cesar de Oliveira Filho, or Zinho, 38, both of the 1994 World Cup–winning national team. Romario was expected to make his debut on 5 May. Miami FC also has an owner, Traffic Sports, with Brazilian backing. The team joins the United Soccer Leagues with a roster also featuring players from Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Bolivia, Mexico, Colombia, Honduras and Cuba. Says goalkeeper Chris Doyle:

We can’t fool Miami soccer fans. There is such a large Latino population here, so much diversity, culture and passion for soccer, that I can feel the energy already. I think if we win, people will buy into us.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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