The Gringo in Bahia – Not for the weak

Brazilian soccer is known worldwide for the national team’s World Cup titles and superstars playing for the biggest clubs in the world.But today I’ll write about the heavy game load professionals in Brazil must endure compared to the rest of the world.

The number of games in Brazil overwhelms the calendars of fans and players alike. The season begins the first week of January and ends in early December. Most teams have a full calendar of games throughout the year.  For example, with Esporte Club Bahia this year’s competitions included the Bahia State Championship, Brazilian Cup, Serie A and South American Cup.

The team has already played 53 games in these championships, with four months remaining in the year. Altogether we will play at least 75 games this calendar year, with a match scheduled almost every Wednesday and Sunday. Compare this to English Premier League teams who play only 38 regular season games plus other competitions.

A couple of other items to consider:
  • Even with a busy calendar, three yellow cards still results in an automatic one-match suspension.
  • Travel is brutal.  Combined with constantly playing against strong adversaries, Brazilian clubs must often make long trips. To play clubs in southern Brazil, Bahia must make a minimum 5 to 6 hour flight.
  • Brazilian children begin to play competitively very early. Players as young as 10 years old attend the clubs daily, many of them already living far from home.
  • The referees have left much to be desired recently. Sometimes there is a thin line between becoming champion or entering the relegation zone, and wrong decisions by referees have caused outrage from fans and players.
  • Our holidays are generally only 30 days and during this time many players organize charity games for different causes called “peladas”
I am sure other countries deal with some of the same issues but I’m confident it is tough to find another place with the game load we have here in Brazil.
This week, I would like to hear your comments and also differences in how the system works in your countries.
- The Gringo in Bahia


1 Comment on "The Gringo in Bahia – Not for the weak"

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  1. says:

    Very informative Danny. I feel like the kids in Brazil stop school before how I grew up in Germany. Until what age most Brazilians study and how many hours a day?

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