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A Brazilian Revolution

The Revs are heavily invested in the South American country.

The New England Revolution are rumored to have signed Weverton from Flamengo’s U-20 team in Brazil in what is another promising young acquisition from Brazil.

While I don’t need to tell you this, Brazil is one of the top footballing nations in the world. Whether it be Pelé, R9, Ronaldinho, Zico, Cafu, Kaká, or Neymar, the talent that has come out of the nation is undeniable.

But the New England Revolution haven’t been focused on the football powerhouse until recently. The club has only had seven Brazilian players throughout its history, according to the club’s media website (and that’s including Nick Firmino who didn’t play in a first-team match, and Benny Feilhaber, who played internationally for the United States).

The Revs started investing in the soccer region in 2020 when their second team, Revolution II was formed. Maciel was signed to Revolution II after developing in Botafogo’s Academy in Brazil. He was joined by Michel in the inaugural season of Revolution II, a fellow Brazilian who trained in the Botafogo Academy.

On The Far Post Podcast, Revolution Technical Director Curt Onalfo recalled a conversation with Bruce Arena where Arena stated he drove through Framingham, Massachusetts, and couldn’t believe the Brazilian influence and population on the community.

Onalfo was actually born in Brazil and mentioned that it made sense for the club to target the nation’s footballing talent.

“We do think it makes the environment better,” he said. “Some of them will hit and that’s good for us but I think it’s a creative way that we’ve tried to get better.”

In their debut seasons with the second team, Maciel was the only player to start all 16 matches while Michel took some more time to adjust. Maciel was rewarded for his play and earned a first-team contract before the start of the 2021 MLS season. Michel is now in his third season with the second team.

In 2022, New England has continued to step up their investment in the country. The Revs brought in Marcos Dias, Italo, and Ryan Lima to the second team while the first team acquired Colombian winger Dylan Borrero, who played for Atletico Mineiro in Brazil beginning in 2020.

With all the newcomers, Michel has transitioned into more of a leadership role in his third season with the second team.

“In the locker room this season, I feel like I’m communicating much better with the other players, both the Brazilian and the American ones,” Michel told the media in a mid-week media availability. “I’m trying my best when it comes to English classes and I’m putting in a lot of effort and I feel like I can communicate better,” he said. “As a player on the pitch, I think I have an important role, and when I am playing well, when I am performing well, I feel like I can make the team better as well, so we all have important roles in the team, and I think that’s how we can become better as a group.”

Michel didn’t just change on the field, he also evolved off the field.

“I’d like to mention two things in terms of my evolution; first as a person, I came here, I was younger, I had to deal with a different language, a different culture, even different times when it comes to work and I’m very happy with my personal evolution,” Michel stated.

Another example of Michel’s transformation in the locker room is how he helped fellow Brazilian Italo get situated in the United States.

“Michel was the player whom I had the first contact when I came to New England,” Italo said. “We lived together for a few days, and I had known him from Rio. We played against each other when I was a Flamengo player and when he was with Botafogo. He’s a very dynamic player, has a lot of technique, great passing, so he’s been able to help the team with scoring and assisting as well.”

Italo also talked about how the Brazilian style of play has affected the Revolution.

“I always tell players – the Brazilian players in particular – that we are here to help,” he said. “This Brazilian style I believe has some boldness to it and can be very helpful in decisive moments, either with some dribbling, with some special players that can help with scoring a goal or doing something that will lead us to wins. Brazilians have that from a young age, and it’s good to be able to use that here at the Revolution as well.”

So far the most successful of the newcomers have been Dias. The striker has scored four goals in 10 games with Revs II and recently trained with the first team. If he continues to perform at such a high level, the first team could continue to call his name in training and eventually follow in Maciel’s footsteps.

The club is also making an effort to get involved in the Brazilian community. Dylan Borrero was the special guest for a watch party on July 13 for the Copa Do Brasil match between Mineiro and Flamengo. Members of the Brazilian community got to meet a player who played at one of the biggest clubs in the country and also learn more about the Revs.

Borrero talked about what might make Brazilian players fit to succeed in New England’s system at the event stating that their physical and technical class might be part of the reason they succeed.

“I think Brazil has very important players for any league in the world,” he added.

So the entire New England Revolution organization is going through a revolution of its own and with the success of the Brazilian players on the roster, expect more players from the country to come to the team.