A Country of "Soccerists"*
*neologism created by Mário de Andrade, in the novel Macunaíma
Brazil - "Country of Soccer" or "Land of Soccer Shoes", as it is known abroad - did not invent soccer, but it became a fertile ground for its dissemination and popularization, in the whole world. This is well illustrated by the countless variations of soccer created in Brazil, such as beach soccer, futsal, indoor soccer, button soccer and even footvolley.
The presence of soccer is so ubiquitous in the Brazilian landscape that there is no village, indigenous settlement, religious convent or penitentiary that does not have its own soccer field. The sport is present in politics, fashion, cuisine, visual art, cinema, literature, theater, popular music and even in classical music. For some, soccer is a religion; others consider it an art. In truth, it is a little bit of each and some more...
The numbers of soccer in Brazil are impressive, though not record-setting, according to FIFA. The number of clubs in Brazil - almost 30,000 - is less than in England, and the just over 2 million registered players in Brazil are fewer than their German counterparts. The total number of players is also less than in countries such as India and China.
The Brazilian Soccer Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol - CBF) is the organizing body for Brazilian soccer, with 27 state federations bound to it. The confederation, headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, organizes the Brazilian Soccer Championship and is also responsible for women's soccer tournaments in the country.
Brazilian Soccer in Numbers
- Clubs: 29.208
- Registered players: 2,1 million
- Non-registered players: 11,2 million
- State Championships: 27
- Divisions: A, B, C, D
- Professional games: 5,000 a year
- Annual competitions: over 100
- Registered referees: 61,000
- Club: the first club was Rio Grande, founded on July 19th, 1900
- Stadium: Lady Veridiana Prado took the initiative in 1902, in São Paulo. Brazil's first velodrome (bicycle track) was built around that field.
- Ball: it was only in 1900 that Brazil managed to manufacture the first one.
- First game: in Rio de Janeiro, in 1874, between two teams of English sailors, as a demonstration for Princess Isabel. The first competitive game was held in São Paulo, between employees of English companies, in 1895.
- Championship: the Paulista (São Paulo state) championship of 1902 was the first one.
- International game: the first official game played by Brazil's team against another national team took place on September 20th, 1914, against Argentina. We got off to a bad start: Argentina won 3x0 and an endless rivalry was born.