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The street soccer female team changing the face of football in Brazil

Jessica do Vale controls a ball during a street soccer training program run by the Street Child United Brazil non-governmental organization   -  
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Bruna Prado/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


A team of female football players in Brazil is challenging the stereotypes associated to this male-dominated sport.

Street Child United Brazil was created following the 2014 Street Child World Cup. Years later, the team won the 2018 Street Child World Cup held in Russia and again in Qatar in 2022.

“And these are very dangerous places in Rio de Janeiro, so to try to and get place where the kids can relax, play football, that was the idea. One of the things that have come from this is that we’ve always had the boys and girls play football together, this meant that our girls became very good football players”, said Adam Reid, CEO of Street Child United Brazil.

The victory in Qatar was a high point in the career of these players changing the face of football.

“When they went to Qatar I was very happy. I told them - good luck in Qatar, you’ll win! I was supposed to go but was too young. I saw their game, I was very happy when they won!”, said 14-year old football player, Geane de Almeida.

The project coordinator said that this project is helping to empower girls and influence a new generation.

“Through football I changed my life, I changed what I had planned for my future, when I was sure I could make unimaginable dreams come true, things I never thought I could achieve. Thanks to football I felt strong and saw that I was really strong”, added Claudianny Santos, also known as Drika project coordinator and coach. 

The team plays in a football pitch situated in one of the most dangerous communities in Rio de Janeiro, the Complexo da Penha favela.

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