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  • Writer's pictureDan Berridge

Interview With Orlando Pride Brazil

I recently had the absolute privilege of catching up with Isadora, Leticia and Maria Clara from Orlando Pride Brazil (@orlpridebrazil on Twitter and @orl.pridebrazil on Instagram). The trio all took turns telling me about their love for the sport of soccer, how they came to follow the Pride and just how good Marta is...

Hello! Thank you so much for catching up with us!

Leticia, I'll start with you. Have you been a football/soccer fan all your life? If so, who were your idols growing up?

Being from the country that has had the greatest influence on football, I grew up watching football. When I was 10, I watched the first women’s soccer game, and I watched Brazil at the 2016 Olympics. One of my biggest idols wears the number 10 shirt for Orlando.

Maria Clara, which team was your favourite as a child?

São Paulo Futebol Clube.

Isadora, you're all obviously based in Brazil. How did you end up following the Orlando Pride and what excited you most about this club?

Through Twitch. My biggest influence and the person who made me know more about Orlando was Marta, a player for our national team. Before I just cheered for her because I did not have much knowledge about the club. Now that I know, I follow Orlando for the club and not just for her. The energy of the players and their willpower show that they truly love what they do. Orlando is an incredible team!

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Leticia, as a group, Orlando Pride Brazil have become a well know presence on social media for Pride fans. How important is it for the club to have prominent supporters overseas? There are other accounts such as Orlando Pride France who are similarly well known.

Orlando has a characteristic of being one of the cities with the largest Brazilian populations. With the fact that most of the club's board of directors is composed of Brazilians, the soccer queen who plays at the club is Brazilian, and Kaká, one of the idols of Orlando City, makes Brazilians who live in Brazil want to follow a club from abroad that has Brazilian characteristics. We are often asked why the page name is "Brazil" and not "Brasil," which is the form that is written in the Portuguese language. We think it would be good for the players who visit our page to see that people from abroad follow their work and support the club. Even aside from the name of our page, it is very important that they realise that outside the city of Orlando, there are fans from abroad who are also passionate about the club.

Maria Clara, what is your favourite thing about Orlando Pride?

The communication from the players with the fans. They are always very kind. It is a wonderful relationship.

This one is for Isadora, Covid-19 has kind of put a stop to international travel. Have you been able to make it over to Orlando and watch the Pride live? And how do you usually watch games at home in Brazil?

Since NWSL has a Twitch broadcast, this makes it very easy for fans in other countries to watch games. Here in Brazil we all watch through Twitch. Unfortunately, none of us have had the opportunity to go to an Orlando game.

Let's hope that changes soon, and you are all able to make it over to Orlando! Leticia, Marta is correctly known as the best player of all time. How important is it for young girls in Brazil to have a role model such as Marta?

Undoubtedly Marta is one of the greatest inspirations for Brazilian girls who want to become professional players. The soccer country has the soccer queen, who is also Brazilian and who always positions herself regarding the gender inequalities still present in the sport.

Maria Clara, how important is Marta going to be for the Pride on the field, in 2021?

Marta has a very important impact for the club, both in the tactical sense and in the visibility of the club. The coach (Marc Skinner), does not yet have a fully defined team for 2021 but I believe he will know how to position her.

Isadora, what's your favourite memory of watching the Pride?

Toni's return to the pitch and the tribute that Marta paid her when she wasn't playing. And the return game of Sydney Leroux against Sky Blue.

Leticia, do you have a favourite Pride goal?

This question is simple although it is very complicated. And it's very difficult, I can't say what my favorite goal is.

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Who are your current favourites on the Pride squad, Maria Clara?

Ali Krieger and Marta.

Leticia, please correct me if I've gotten this wrong, but it seems like the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol Feminino is really growing in popularity. Who are the players we should be looking out for, who might eventually arrive in the NWSL?

Brazilians don't say much about it, but focusing on the current Corinthians team is a great choice. With the current play of the women's team under Pia Sundhage, they (the Brazilian WNT) have been calling up more Corinthians players.

Corinthians have a roster stacked with talent such as Giovanna Crivelari Anselmo.

How popular is the NWSL in Brazil? The league seems like it is growing in popularity all over the world.

The NWSL is not as popular as the Brazilian National League (Brasileirão Feminino A-1), but it has an incredible impact in Brazil. The end of the Challenge Cup was one of the topics most commented on Twitter by Brazilians. But this impact is undoubtedly greater with Orlando Pride, Orlando Pride is the NWSL club that has the most Brazilian fans, another club would be the Portland Thorns.

Isadora, the 2021 NWSL promises to be an interesting season all-round, with the return of the NWSL Challenge Cup in addition to regular season matches. How far can the Pride go in 2021? What is your prediction?

I believe that, like all other clubs, Orlando Pride enters the conversation with a chance of reaching the finals. But as we still don’t have a definite roster, and coach hasn’t yet defined the players, we’ll have to wait a little longer to see how Orlando will react against the other teams.

To round this interview off Leticia, what would you say to any soccer fan overseas, who is thinking about following an NWSL team? Why should they follow the Orlando Pride?

Orlando Pride is a club that hasn’t won titles, a new club founded in 2016, went to the playoffs at 2017 season and still never made it to a final, so if you want a title club don't cheer for Orlando Pride! We shouldn't be fans because of titles, but for the love of the club. Orlando Pride is a club that always takes a position regarding important causes, which is always directly linked to the crowd, which will make you excited and

each game will give you one more reason to want to be a fan of this club. This club is incredible, even more incredible to be supporter of a club that promises to make us very proud.

Couldn't agree more with that final sentiment. Dutch great Dennis Bergkamo once famously said: “When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.” I think that certainly applies to us here.

Thank you so much Isadora, Leticia and Maria Clara for taking the time to speak with us. Please do check out their socials: @orlpridebrazil on Twitter and @orl.pridebrazil on Instagram.

*Translations by Mike Duncan


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