SAO PAULO — With much fanfare, the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame opened a museum in 1999 in Oneonta, N.Y. Within a decade, though, it was closed to the public and eventually the physical location — a chic building with a giant soccer ball bursting through one wall — was shuttered completely.
Brazil has no such problem supporting a soccer museum. I went on a reporting trip to the Museu do Futebol on Tuesday to learn more about what the sport means to Brazil. Even though Portuguese was more prominent than English here, a tour guide led the way and it became apparent pretty quickly that the rise of soccer in Brazil mirrored the country’s evolution over the past century, its setbacks and successes easy to plot together on a timeline.
It’s a story that transcends sport, evident from the second Pele — appearing on a life-sized television monitor — welcomes guests through the museum’s doors. On the eve of the World Cup, soccer fans from across the globe — wearing colors and carrying their flags — crammed inside the museum, eager to explore the special relationship Brazil has with soccer. Here’s a few amateur photos:
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