Brazilians coming to Calgary

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:17 PM ET

Hoping to cash in on the World Cup craze, soccer enthusiasts are bringing one of Brazil’s top-flight teams to the city for an exhibition match against a local all-star squad.

Heck, they’ve even purchased a few boxes of vuvuzelas to help set the mood when the Calgary United Selects entertain Esporte Clube Vitoria next Friday at Shouldice Park.

“People are pretty soccer-crazy right now,” said organizer Chris Baker. “And the Brazilians are really in the game to promote the game. Vitoria wants to come here to promote their club, but they also want to help us, as Canadians, promote the game, as well.

“I mean, it’s their game. England invented it, but it’s Brazil’s game, and they look at it that way. They want to promote it around the world.”

A fixture in the city of Salvador for more than a century, Esporte Clube Vitoria currently competes in Brazil’s first division.

Taking advantage of a World Cup break in the Brazilian league schedule, the team was planning to head north for an international friendly against Edmonton FC. Now, they’ll play twice on their trip to Alberta.

Baker, who’d love to bring a professional side to the city, figures next Friday’s exhibition will give Calgarians a taste of world-class soccer and give some local competitors a chance to shine against elite competition.

“They’re obviously going to see a lot of speed, a lot of skill,” Baker said. “The interesting thing from a Calgary point of view will be what level our players are. It might be an eye-opener for a lot of Calgarians to see how good our players can be.

“I’m thinking we’ll be competitive. Wr should give them a good game.”

For ticket information, visit www.ticketweb.ca.

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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