Mateus and Ryan can’t control their excitement for the classes at the Sports Park

Open UniversityFotos: Camila Cunha

Teaching soccer to boys and girls

Orlando City and Sports Park sign a “deal” to bring sports and education together

One, two, three… Go! By giving commands in English, Orlando City Soccer School coaches are instructing their students in the training sessions at PUCRS’ Sports Park. Teaching soccer in a foreign language is one of the goals of the partnership between the US team and the University, which began in August. Orlando City Soccer School is making its presence felt at the Park. Footsteps of Kingston (the team’s mascot) can be seen all over the complex. The dressing rooms, which are predominantly purple, the administrative area and the soccer fields are characteristic of the team that is playing on Brazilian soil.

Unlike the traditional soccer schools, it trains youth aged 3-21 to become authentic citizens as the curriculum includes ethics as one of the topics to be addressed. “We’re looking for students who wish to learn about soccer regardless of their qualifications. For the young kids it’s all about having fun while they learn. For the teenagers, it is an open door to a university”, says Pedro Viana, representative of Orlando City Soccer School. “It’s a unique concept since it brings innovation to soccer and development of children and adolescents together. The active involvement of participants in an educational context is filled with moments of entertainment”, adds the Park’s coordinator, Márcio Müller.


Twins Laura and Juliana

The methodology and training schedule of Orlando City Soccer School were scientifically developed in the USA and are the same as those that are used in the first team. Teachers and coaches have been carefully selected and trained in view of the standards required for both the youth and professional leagues of the USA.

At the Park, the dedication of the kids, is a matter of pride for many families. Mateus, 6, who plays in the category Baby Fut fills her grandmother, Lizete da Rocha, with joy. “He is so excited that will he ask me all the time if he’s going to play. He’s loving the classes”, says she. Raquel Lima, is surprised about the structure and the teaching methods that are being used with her son, Ryan, 5. “He loves playing so much that he used some cleaning products to make a circuit at home”, adds she.

Girls will not be left out at Orlando City, too. Twin sisters Laura and Juliana Vieira, 12, who prefer to play as striker and defender, respectively, are very enthusiastic about the sessions. “It’s so cool. What I like most is to trade passes”, comments Laura.


Coach Karla Loureiro and student Gustavo Saraiva

Coach Karla Loureiro, a former professional player who has served for the Brazilian Team Under-17, claims that soccer goes beyond the soccer field. “We need to make it clear that we respect and understand the rules”, says she. Training sessions are very intense and girls love them. “They are soon to play at the University Stadium.” Driven by the desire to study abroad, just like many other people, Gustavo Saraiva, 18, is a player in the category Performance. “I want to study Business Administration at the University of Colorado, with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.

My performance so far will help me achieve this goal”, points he. The coordinator of the Pedagogy program, Sônia Bonelli, adds that although many students are not planning to become professional athletes, sports add values and principles. “It’s essential for the cognitive, affective and psychomotor development. When they work on these areas, they become more creative and reflective and consequently develop other skills”, ponders she.

Structure and mobility

Orlando City Soccer School will sit an area equipped with six Football 7-a-side pitches with synthetic turf, one regular synthetic turf pitch, a FIFA optimal-size natural grass field and six covered multisport pitches for soccer classes. The program Soccer Camps will allow Physical Education, Health Care, Physiotherapy and Communications professionals working in Brazil to have opportunities to visit the structure of the team in Florida. “We also intend to take a group of girls to play soccer in the USA”, adds Viana. Several remarkable players of the national team of Brazil have played in Florida. Orlando Pride (girls soccer) is the current home of striker Marta, four-time elected best soccer player by FIFA. As for the boys, former players Kaká and Júlio Baptista have put on the purple jersey.


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