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Charles Miller: Who Bought Soccer To Brazil

The grave of Charles Miller lies more or less hidden in the corner of a Sao Paulo cemetery. No plaques denote this man’s impact on Brazil’s rich cultural history, no sign to remind visitors that he was even that important.

Few people visit, few know who he is, but Charles William Miller could be one of the most influential men in Brazil’s recent history. His actions influenced the lives of hundreds of millions and changed the history of soccer forever. Charles Miller was the man who brought the beautiful game to Brazil.

The Scot Who Brought Football to Brazil

Charles William Miller was born in Sao Paulo in 1874 to a Scottish father and a Brazilian mother. He was sent to live in England when he was a child, and it was there that he learned to play soccer and cricket. He even played for St. Mary’s, which would eventually become Southampton Football Club.

By the time he returned to Brazil, he was an accomplished soccer player capable of playing at a high level. He took several soccer balls and a rulebook with him when he returned to Brazil. On his arrival, he taught the game to some of his fellow countrymen in Sao Paulo.

Several years before his return, a sports club had been set up in the city, and it was this club that Charles Miller would eventually teach the game to. He would also play himself and was said to be many leagues above his opponents and his teammates.

In 1910, with the game increasing in Brazil, an English amateur team named Corinthians F.C. toured the country. Charles Miller had been invited to play for the team while in England and was instrumental in bringing them to Brazil. This team would later influence the creation and name of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, one of the oldest and currently the most successful teams in Brazil.

As it happens, Charles Miller wasn’t the only Scot to help introduce soccer to Brazil. A Scottish ex-pat named Thomas Donohoe also helped to organize early games. However, it’s Charles Miller that many consider being the most significant influence.

The Legacy of Charles Miller

Brazil is one of the biggest soccer nations in the world. The game of football has provided an escape for many poor people in the country. From the adults who watch games as a way to escape their day-to-day toil to the children who play it on the streets and in the favelas. All with a hope to become rich, famous, and successful soccer players.

Brazil Soccer Today

There are currently over 10,000 Brazilian soccer players playing the game professionally around the world. From part-timers earning their wages in the lower leagues in Europe to Neymar, Firminho, and Coutinho, who make hundreds of thousands of Euros a week playing for some of the biggest teams in the world.

The Brazilian domestic league is not considered par with the leagues in Spain, England, France, Italy, and Germany. However, they still showcase some of the best young talents that the game has ever seen. In this domestic system, players like Neymar, Pelé, and Romario learned the trade and grew from talented teenagers into the world’s most sought-after stars.

The Brazilian national team is also considered to be one of the greatest in the world. They have won more World Cups than any other team and have persistently ranked as the number 1 national team globally. However, everything doesn’t always go their way, as we saw in 2014 when they hosted the World Cup. Brazil threatened to annihilate all teams placed in front of them and then failed miserably against Germany.

Brazil Should Never Forget!

But make no mistake about it, Brazil is a force in world soccer. Brazilian players are some of the best globally, and the Brazilian domestic system is one of the most exciting and underrated. Along with being the one which European, North American, and Asian scouts like to plunder the most.

And all of this began from Charles Miller. A Scot who wanted to bring the joy, the passion, and the spirit of football to the Brazilian people. And while they may not visit his grave or have a national holiday to commemorate his birth, Brazilians still celebrate Charles Miller’s life on the 24th of November each year and the gift he gave them every time they kick a ball.

Interesting Facts About Charles William Miller

  • He was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to John Miller, a Scottish railway engineer, and Carlota Fox, a Brazilian of English descent.
  • Charles Miller was an accomplished athlete who quickly became captain of the school’s soccer team. He earned the nickname Nipper for his slight build. Even though he was small, he was a prolific center forward and a sprightly winger.
  • In 1904, Miller became the acting British vice-consul and agent of Royal Mail at the Sao Paulo Railway Company.
  • He married the pianist Antonietta Rudge in 1906, with whom he had two children.
  • He nearly died in the first IRA bombing in England on his last return to the mainland in 1939. But, seconds before the bomb exploded, his daughter stopped to window shop at a nearby underground station.
  • Having seen Brazil host its first World Cup in 1950, Charles Miller died on June 30, 1953.

Charles Miller Facts

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