South Africa to Santa Barbara Day 20: The Brazil Phenomenon

Why is Brazil's soccer team so beloved across the globe?



Follow the 2010 World Cup with the UCSB men's and women's soccer programs all tournament long on UCSBgauchos.com. "South Africa to Santa Barbara: The Cup is Coming" will provide daily commentary on the day's biggest storylines, featuring video interviews with Gaucho soccer players and head coaches Tim Vom Steeg and Paul Stumpf.

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There are teams that people love and teams that people love to hate. Usually these teams go hand-in-hand.

Take the Yankees for example. You will find a legion of them anywhere they play across the nation. In some cities, for instance, Yankees fans will even outnumber the home team's fans.

The Lakers sell out all the time. They also sell out when they're on the road. People flock to arenas to either cheer them on or see if the home team can knock off one of the best teams in the history of the NBA. (P.S. don't even bring the Celtics into the fold. Sure, fans love to hate them, but most of their titles came before your father was even born).

Brazil fans can be found all over the world. Their merchandise can be bought most anywhere. They include things like flip-flops, board shorts, Nike shoes, hats, T-shirts, a mousepad and even a dog sweater.

People love Brazil's soccer team and if they don't root for Brazil to win, it's usually because their own native land is playing. Once a fan's home country is knocked out of any World Cup, fans cheer for Brazil.

The reason all these teams have so many fans? They win.

The difference, however, is that Brazil doesn't seem to arouse the hatred of opposing fans the way the Yankees and Lakers do. Perhaps it's because of the respect the Brazilians have earned. Their lowest-ever FIFA ranking was 8th. Think about that for a moment - Brazil has never been considered a non-top-10 team in its history.

While fans love to see the Yankees and Lakers lose, if Brazil should falter, it is seen as something out of the ordinary. When the Yankees or Lakers win, rarely do you hear "Well, it's the Yankees, we weren't supposed to win." But, if the U.S. lost to Brazil that would be what Americans would say.

With five World Cup titles in its history and some of the game's top players in soccer history, it's easy to identify with them. Plus, with all the one-word named players it's easy to remember them.

Think of U.S. culture - Cher, Madonna, Shaq, LeBron, A-Rod, Oprah, Tiger. Without even blinking, you knew who those people are.

Now, think of Brazilian soccer stars that are known by one name - Pele, Cafu, Kaka, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Robinho, Jairzinho. Even their coach is known by one name: Dunga. On top of that, Brazil's nickname is one word: Seleção, which in Portuguese is "The Selection."

It's easy to see why fans worldwide have made Brazil their own Seleção.

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Season tickets start at just $75 and include one ticket to all home men's and women's regular season games and one College Cup All Session Pass. UCSB staff and faculty can purchase their season tickets for a reduced rate of $50.

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