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David Reich

Four days in Brazil, and all have been fun. What you have heard about Brazil, that soccer is life, is absolutely true.

Here, where two or three come together, soccer is played. And another five are watching. Our second day here, we played against the ABC FC U17s. The field we were on is surrounded by high rises, some of them under construction. If you would look up (while on the bench of course) you could usually see two or three construction workers on break watching the game out of a window. I'm assuming they were on break, but in Brazil the foreman might make an exception for a game. Yesterday we went to a beach towards the edge of town. Besides getting to see the world's largest cashew tree on the drive there, we played on the beach. Occasionally, someone would walk by and just stop and watch. Then a couple of fishermen who lived there (this was not a tourist beach) brought out a couple of mini goals and joined in the fun. Since we had split into three teams, the third team would play the locals until we rotated. The fishermen were similar to us, playing just to play. I noticed that this afternoon also. While walking the beach trying to catch a tan/burn, the group I was with saw three little games with makeshift goals going on, and we saw nowhere near the entire beach. Another proof that soccer consumes the nation is that while we were playing futsal (the indoorversion) this morning against a local team, the local channel shot footage and interviewed coach for their news. Down here, a small American university team visits to play the game, it gets noticed. If this were WCCO, the reaction would probably be "Where is Morris?" The fact that we are Americans seems to enhance that. Everyone has been really friendly. They, and us, realize that even though we don't speak the same language, we still understand each other. We all know the beautiful game.