During the summer of 2017, Wagner Soccer will be running cultural soccer tours to Brazil. These “Experience” tours are a way to learn about other cultures and customs through soccer. The 2017 tours will include soccer tourism around Rio de Janeiro and an immersive cultural tour in the northeast city of Natal.
Wagner Soccer has spent 4 years in Brazil developing friendships and partnerships that are culturally significant for those in the U.S. as well as those living in Brazil. Our Tangará project was started in 2016 as part of the Wagner Academy Intercambio (Exchange) program. The program started out as a way for American children to understand what soccer is to those around the world. It ended up being a culturally significant event in the Northeast of Brazil.
Through the joint work of Miguel Delima (Delima Soccer Enterprises), ABC Futebol Clube (Natal), SEI of Tangará, Master Zezinho (Capoeira Celeiros de Bambas), the Federal University of the State of Rio Grande do Norte, the Josa Project, and Coach Wilson Gomes de Medeiros Jr. (Junior), Wagner Soccer developed a platform by which children in the United States and Brazil could learn what it was like to participate in activities together. What was most significant was the Girls Soccer Initiative that Bob Wagner commenced in 2012 and came to fruition in 2014.
Miguel Delima worked with Bob Wagner, SEI, ABC, and UFRN in Brazil to setup the 10 day Wagner Soccer Intercambio in August of 2014. Three games were setup. Two games were against SEI of Tangará and one against the UFRN college team.
The Wagner Soccer teams were welcomed to Tangará with much fanfare for the “Major International Event.” The city was closed down, including the schools and the Americans were welcomed like celebrities.
The girls team from SEI was playing in their first match against another girls team. It was also the first time most of the residents of Tangará had met anyone from the United States. All levels of government in the region were present to observe something that was truly life changing for those from that region as well as the American kids who participated.
The 2014 Intercambio was just the beginning. The window was opened and now it was time to start planning for more ambitious ways to create change. Following the great day in Tangará, the parties that put this together met to share their experiences and to start to plan for 2016. Gifts were exchanged and thoughts of what was possible were floated, to be worked on individually, for the betterment of the group.
On September 2, 2015, Bob Wagner, Nildo Angelo and Miguel Delima met in Natal to start planning for the next immersive program for Wagner Soccer and SEI. What is being planned for this project is nothing less than extraordinary for the participants.
Wagner Soccer will once again be bringing a group of boys and girls to Brazil for the summer of 2017. This time, the program is one of cultural immersion. The Wagner Soccer group will be staying for 6 weeks in Brazil. In that time they will be learning Portuguese, Capoeira, and living very much like a Brazilian would. The goal is not to play soccer against Brazilian players, but to immerse themselves in the lives of Brazilians. To truly understand what it is like to be a kid in Brazil. The kids will not participate against SEI or other soccer escolinhas in Natal. Instead they will train with those escolinhas and the coaches who run them. The Americans and Brazilians will join together and teach each other about customs, language, friendship, and soccer.
In addition to SEI, Wagner Soccer will also once again work with Josimar Lira and his Josa Project in Pium, outside of Natal. This escolinha brings together kids of all ages to train with coach Josimar, who devotes his life to providing fields and training to kids who don’t have access to it. Wagner Soccer will be bringing soccer equipment from the United States to help coach Josimar with his project.
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that integrates the beauty of dance with the core discipline of traditional martial arts. In 2012, Bob Wagner met Professor Zezinho, who is one of the foremost instructors of Capoeira in the region of Natal. Zezinho is the head master for the Capoeira Celeiro de Bambas school. As part of the program, Zezinho and other instructors and students in the school, participate in programs throughout the community, for tourists and native Brazilians alike. The foundation of the program is about community and respect. Those who participate in the programs with Zezinho are taught to be good citizens and respectful of those around them. Zezinho’s project is bigger than Capoeira. He has spent many years working with children and adults in the community of Planalto. His program provides the kids of Planalto with a needed escape from potential problems in their lives. The 7 day a week program teaches discipline, respect, athleticism, and community.
The 2017 Wagner Soccer Intercambio will be immersed with Zezinho and his community. The participants will train in capoeira. They will also participate with Brazilians within the community. Similar to how the Americans will interact with Brazilians in soccer escolinhas, they will be immersed into the culture and language of Brazil through capoeira.
The Wagner Soccer group will also participate in service projects in Planalto as well. It will be our responsibility to help foster an educational environment though English and Math tutoring and Bob Wagner and Zezinho are working on community based projects to be able to make infrastructure change to assist the community with long-term success for its residents.
Passion, Respect, Community, and Family are what participants of the Wagner Soccer Intercambio will experience. It will change perspective and will change lives for those participating from the United States and for those who are welcoming them in Brazil.
2017 Wagner Soccer Intercambio: Itinerary
A magnificent confluence of land and sea, the long scalloped beach of Copacabana and Leme always has a flurry of activity stretching its length: overamped footballers singing their team’s anthem, cariocas and tourists lining up for caipirinhas at kiosks, favela kids showing off their football skills, and beach vendors picking their way through the mass of people on the beach.
Copacabana – named after a Bolivian apparation of Mary. According to legend, an apparation of Lady Mary came to a fisherman close to a place called Copacabana on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Spanish sailors believed she brought safety at sea journeys so images of her were often brought on their voyages. It was when a group of Spanish sailors gor stuck in Rio for a longer period they decided to build a church in honor of this apparition of Mary which they called Nossa Senhora de Copacabana. The areas closest to the church with time changed from its old Indian name Sacopenapa to Copacabana, a name it continues to keep.
Natal, the capital city of Rio Grande do Norte State, is home to ABC Futebol Clube, one of the top clubs in the northeast of Brazil. ABC F.C., founded on June 29, 1915, has won fifty state titles and is known for its vibrant fans.
Natal is one of the most spectacular cities in Brazil. With its 365 days a year of tropical weather and known for having the best air quality in the Americas, Natal is a virtual paradise, in a modern, tranquil city. The warm ocean waters and breathtaking scenery will provide for fantastic outdoor excursions.
For excitement, tour participants will take dune buggies through the famous dunes of Natal. The rides, with or without “emotion” will be an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Other sites such at the historical Forte do Reis Magos, the picturesque town of Pipa and snorkeling at Maracajau are just some of the many things that participants may explore during their time in paradise.
From Rio, Foz do Iguacu is a two hour flight to the south of Brazil. Foz do Iguacu is a sizeable city and the gateway to the famous Iguassu Falls, which is situated on Brazil’s border with Argentina and Paraguay. You will have the chance to see the breathtaking panoramic views and admire the sheer scale of the falls – a series of 270 cascades that altogether stretch almost one mile across and reach up to 260 feet – wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara Falls!
The Immersion Package includes the following:
Tour Dates: July/August, 2017
Tour Package Pricing: $4,200
Pricing is dependent on timing of tour and final itinerary. Tour pricing does not include airfare.
Typical round-trip airfare, can run from $1,000 - $1,200 on average.
Other trip details: