Blog Note: Rising sophomore goalkeeper Matt Turner of the men’s soccer team is writing about his summer in Brazil.
Brazil has been a unique and an unbelievably good experience for me thus far. After arriving here from the 10 hour flight last Sunday morning, May 19th, I went into the city of Sao Paulo. The first thing that struck me was the traffic. The traffic is so bad in this city because there are so many people! I didn’t go to the academy until the next day.
The Traffic Futbol Academy hosts the club Desportivo Brasil’s youth teams. The people that live here are comprised of u15s, u17s, and u20s. The academy makes its money by selling players to clubs around the world. I am a part of the u20s, but we train alongside the 17s (when I’m not with the goalkeeper coach). The quality of play is very high, and the training sessions are high intensity. If you switch off for a moment you will lose the ball or concede a goal.
Soccer is life for the kids here, and everything they do is in preparation for the next day’s training. It’s fun to be in the professional environment.
For me it was difficult at first because there aren’t many English speakers here. It was hard to branch out and make friends also because I didn’t get the opportunity to train until the Tuesday. Once I began to train, the football really allowed me to settle in.
We train usually twice per day besides Thursdays when we only lift before our game on Fridays. I got to play the entire game this past Friday. Playing in a game is such a bonus for me because I only thought I was coming down here to train, but to get in-game experience as well is more than I could ask for.
We get weekends off, so I went back into the city of Sao Paulo and spent it with my dad at his hotel, it was refreshing to speak some English finally.
It’s the beginning of my second week here, and tonight I’m playing in the staff game versus the coaches of the Iranian National Team, it should be a really fun time.