During the summer of 2020, Wagner Soccer will be running cultural soccer tours to Brazil. These “Experience” tours are a way to learn about other cultures and customs through soccer, capoeira, tourism, and education. The 2020 tour will be in Natal, RN.
The Wagner Soccer Intercambio program is one of cultural immersion. Wagner Soccer introduces the American kids to Portuguese, capoeira, soccer, food, dance, and other things typical in Brazilian culture. Then, the kids are immersed directly into the culture, living much like Brazilians, during their time in Brazil. The goal is not to play soccer against Brazilian players, but to immerse themselves in the lives of Brazilians. To truly understand what it is like to be a kid in Brazil. The kids will not participate against soccer escolinhas (schools) in Natal. Instead they will train with those escolinhas and the coaches who run them. The Americans and Brazilians will join together and teach each other about customs, language, friendship, and soccer.
Passion, Respect, Community, and Family are what participants of the Wagner Academy Intercambio will experience. It will change perspective and will change lives for those participating from the United States and for those who are welcoming them in Brazil.
Natal is one of the most spectacular cities in Brazil. With its 365 days a year of tropical weather and known for having the best air quality in the Americas, Natal is a virtual paradise, in a modern, tranquil city. The warm ocean waters and breathtaking scenery will provide for fantastic outdoor excursions.
For excitement, tour participants will take dune buggies through the famous dunes of Natal. The rides, with or without “emotion” will be an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Other sites such at the historical Forte do Reis Magos, the picturesque town of Pipa and snorkeling at Maracajau are just some of the many things that participants may explore during their time in paradise.
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that integrates the beauty of dance with the discipline of traditional martial arts. In 2012, Bob Wagner met Professor Zezinho, one of the foremost instructors of capoeira in the city of Natal. Zezinho is the headmaster for Celeiro de Bambas school. As the head of the school, Zezinho and other instructors organize programming throughout the community for students who come from the local area, the United States, and Europe. The foundation of the program is about community and respect; it is more than just capoeira. Those who participate in the programs with Zezinho are taught to be good citizens and respectful of those around them. He has spent many years working with children and adults in the community of Planalto, and his program provides the community with an escape from problems in their lives through a space to play the sport they love with a community of friends and family. With cooperation from the community, Wagner Soccer helps foster an educational environment though English and Math tutoring
Through the joint work of multiple Brazilian partners, Wagner Soccer developed a platform by which children in the United States and Brazil could learn what it was like to participate in activities together. What was most significant was the Girls Soccer Initiative that Bob Wagner commenced in 2012 and is now a part of multiple soccer organizations in Natal.
Wagner Soccer worked with its Brazilian partners to develop a means by which girls could have organized soccer programs. Brazilian culture does not provide for these types of opportunities for young Brazilian girls. Girls play soccer in Brazil, but it is with friends and family. Few clubs have programs like what is available in the United States.