Raphael Alves shows positive impact of soccer with Culture FC
From the time Raphael Alves was only 6 years old, he has been in love with soccer, or as the world calls it, football. Whether playing in the streets of Brazil, watching his brother or his sporting idols excel, or playing in a proper league, Alves has always been enchanted by the game and the lifestyle of it. In Brazil, soccer is much more than just a sport, and that ideology has travelled with Alves throughout his years and around the world. As a child, he dreamed of one day becoming a professional player, and once he achieved that dream at only 15 years old, he realized he had even more potential with this game that has always been so dear to his heart.
Now, Alves is a football specialist, creating alternatives to develop the sport properly in the United States. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world; it is part of a child’s lifestyle and culture, but not in the U.S. Here, there is a distinct sense of competition that brings much more harm than good (statistically, kids quit the sport at the age of 14). As a specialist, Alves creates ways to educate parents, coaches and players in order to help the kids. Also, he has developed a curriculum with different levels to properly prepare coaches and players to competition.
“I love everything about my job. I thought that there was nothing better than being a professional player, and I have realized that what I do now is way bigger. Having the opportunity to give back some of my knowledge and experience is really priceless. The relationship with the kids is a blessing. It’s wonderful to help each one of them individually and get to know their personalities,” he said. “I truly believe in the impact that sports bring to people’s lives. My goal is to make sure that most of the experience is positive.”
Alves has had a formidable career sharing his knowledge of soccer with the world. The highlight, for the Brazilian native, was bringing “football culture” to Kona, Hawaii. Kona is a small town and no one knew about the importance of free play, futsal or footvolley for a child’s development before Alves arrived. He started the program with an average of 10 kids in attendance, and built it up to a point where there were more than 200 children playing futsal and footvolley around the island. The whole community became connected through the sports and the kids started to develop extraordinarily.
“I was able to help a small little place become a reference. After a little more than one year flying to Kona regularly, I have prepared a selected group of kids to play international futsal tournaments in Hawaii. Kona won first place two years in a row. The culture is already set there and hopefully the future generations will see the benefits of it,” said Alves.
After the success in Kona, one of the biggest futsal facilities in the U.S., 808 Futsal Technical Development, invited Culture FC to run their program. Alves is responsible for creating the curriculum and different levels of training and education for players, parents and coaches.
Alves is the Sports Technical Director for Culture FC, which allows him to travel around the country and the world sharing his knowledge. The organization has football schools year round in several places in Southern California. It covers from the beginners’ level all the way to their competitive teams. Alves is the founder of the school format (Escolinhas) and also the creator of the curriculum that is applied.
“It did not take too long to realize that football was different in the U.S. Unfortunately, in a bad way. Everywhere I’ve gone, I have not felt good energy for the kids. In fact, nothing there was created to focus on them. I started to share my thoughts with different people and most of them were too caught up in the system to understand what I was trying to explain. When I met Adriano De Lima, the Director and Owner of Culture FC, we shared the same ideals and goals. Since then, I have been working with him and presenting alternatives to help kids around the country,” he said.
When Alves began working for Culture FC, the company used to offer private training, soccer camps and travel experience. Since his arrival, Culture FC is now a football school that offers training in Huntington Beach, Irvine and Newport Beach, with more than 200 kids (boys and girls) in Southern California in the club. Alves develops the company’s technical curriculum (football, futsal and footvolley), which is applied at their workshops, clinics, coaching education and consulting. He is vital to Culture FC’s continued success, both commercially and with the children’s growth.
“For us, the kids are at first place. We don’t sell our work to parents; we just try to explain how things should be done. Our growing is not affecting our philosophy, it’s just reinforcing that we are going in the right direction. The smiles on the kids’ faces are worth every minute of it,” he concluded.
Culture FC plans on opening more schools and new locations. They want people to understand that soccer is more than a game, an activity or season sport. For many countries, it’s a lifestyle and cultural expression, and Alves and his team want to build that sense of community within the United States.