Brazilians are known around the world for their immeasurable passion when it comes to soccer. During the rough year of 2020, stadiums were shut down and games were postponed. How did the soccer’s supporters manage to go through this phase without their teams to cheer them up? Giulia Lang (17 years old, Palmeiras’ fan), Laíssa Cecilio (18 years old, Palmeiras’ fan), Manuela Faro (18 years old, São Paulo’s fan) and Mariana Pontirolle (16 years old, Corinthians’ fan) told us what it is like to be a soccer fan in a pandemic.
- Laíssa Cecilio
For Laíssa, what she misses the most is, for sure, going to the stadiums: "The feeling of watching a goal being scored live and having so many people around you is indescribable. And I'm not only talking about the game time. It's the arriving, the leaving, this energy of excitement in the air. The bleachers are crowded and every single person sings the team's songs."
- Manuela Faro
Like Laíssa, Manuela said that what she misses most when it comes to soccer is following her team in the stadium, and adds that "It's also inexplicable to share this bond with people you've never met. You've never talked to them before, but knowing that you share so much love for the same team is something that immediately creates a bond."
- Giulia Lang
Despite the damage caused by the pandemic, the last year was surprisingly good for some teams, such as Palmeiras.Giulia, a big supporter of the team, says: "To be fair, the changes in the game dynamics have not negatively affected my team. Palmeiras won 4 titles in the last year, one of which we hadn't won in the last 21 years. So it was an exciting moment for us. But of course it would be much better if we could be there in the stadium to celebrate it properly."
- Mariana Pontirolle
So far, what has been said has been about the male teams, but it is time to emphasize what the women's soccer teams and their fans have been going through in the last year. Mariana, a fanatical supporter of women's teams in general, expresses her opinion on how female soccer has been affected in the face of the pandemic: "It's been a difficult time for everyone, but when it comes to women's soccer, especially in Brazil, they don't get the recognition they deserve. And we've seen since the 2019 World Cup in France a significant shift in the support and value given by the community to national teams and tournaments. It was really devastating to see the development that was done these last two years take a break from all the activities and the players trying to do their best at home to keep the same pace they were having before the pandemic."
According to the girls, it is not only the fans who suffer from empty stadiums, but also the players, who have a huge difficulty in staying motivated, as there are no supporters to surround them and remind them what the game is about. In addition, they have had to work harder than ever due to the postponement of the calendar, as the schedule was reduced for a while, and when the games came back, they had to play in a shorter period of time.
The article above was edited by Giulia Lozano Pacini.
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