Soccer has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a Brazilian native, it is like it just runs through your veins. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, I grew up playing soccer with my friends as much as I could and following my beloved Botafogo on its weekly matches at the legendary Maracanã stadium.
During my teenage years, I decided that the sport that consumed so much of my time would have to be part of my professional life as well. Without the necessary skills to become a player, it was an easy call for a news fanatic deciding to pursue a career in sports journalism.
And the plan worked perfectly...for a year or so. After a brief internship with a newspaper, where I mostly covered soccer, destiny pushed me towards Olympic sports and I spent the last 10 years of my life on it. It was a very fortunate and prolific time, as my city hosted both the Pan-American and the Olympic Games, but I just felt like something was missing.
And the Gods of Soccer couldn’t have given me a clearer hint back in 2014, when Brazil hosted the World Cup and I got tickets for six matches, including the final. At that point, it was clear that, even though soccer was still strongly present in my life as a fan, it just wasn’t enough.
I first met Major League Soccer almost at that same time. I obviously knew about the league before and was familiar with its most popular teams and players, but my idea about it changed completely when I first attended a match at the stadium, during a vacation trip. The quality of the game and way the sport is evolving really surprised me.
From that point on, everything changed and I went from a very casual fan to someone who would know what targeted allocation money and the re-entry draft were in no more than a few months. Fortunately, I could schedule my next vacation well enough to be able to attend the MLS Cup in 2015 and the energy in the stadium was insane.
Having moved from Brazil to the United States in just over a month, I was looking for an opportunity to share my passion for the game and I’m really glad The Mane Land opened its doors to me. I couldn’t feel more at home writing about Orlando City, the most Brazilian team of MLS.