Ballin' Abroad: Daniel Levy, My Journey Begins. Pt. 1 of 4

Coach Levy with Darrell Stewart, Assistant General Manager for the Missão Paraná franchise

Coach Levy with Darrell Stewart, Assistant General Manager for the Missão Paraná franchise

By Daniel Levy
Facebook: Coach Dan Levy

My Journey Begins:

          I arrived in Brazil in July 2013 as one of the six head coaches of the Liga de Futebol Americano (LFA), an organization aiming to field the first fully professional American football league in Brazil.

          By October, the LFA had folded.  As with the rest of the now wayward gringos, I was contacted by a number of existing teams in need of a head coach.  At the top of my short list were two teams, the Curitiba Brown Spiders and the Vila Velha Tritões.   At the time I was already living in Curitiba, had just recently leased a very nice apartment and more or less had started a life there.  The decision made sense at the time, so I chose the Brown Spiders.

          But as the months went on, my situation with the Brown Spiders grew more and more tenuous.  Let me preface this by saying that the leadership of the Spiders is a top-notch group of individuals who treated me like family from the day I arrived in Brazil.  However, anyone who has coached—or been faced with a tough decision in any career field—knows that you cannot be led by emotion.  The Spiders and I were not on the same page, and I did not agree with the direction of the team.  We parted ways amicably, after which the Tritões stepped up with a generous offer.  A quaint, beautiful beachside city; a team with a winning tradition.  A front office who said up front “We are willing to do whatever it takes to win a championship.”   

          For the first time since the collapse of the LFA, I was finally excited again about coaching football in Brazil.

Coach Levy and NFL All-Pro Center Alex Mack of the Cleveland Browns address the team.

Coach Levy and NFL All-Pro Center Alex Mack of the Cleveland Browns address the team.

Right Place, Right Time

          I am not a big believer in fate.  You can call me a skeptic, but I truly believe that every person is free to carve out their own destiny.  Our only limits are the number of opportunities we encounter during the course of our lives.  And while we are not always in control of the opportunities presented to us, we are in control of whether or not we choose to seize them.

          Shortly after I arrived in Vila Velha, I traveled to Rio de Janeiro to participate in a project called American Football Without Barriers (AFWB).  What ensued was one of the most amazing and unforgettable weeks of my life.  For five days I traveled, went to dinner, partied and ran football camps with 15 NFL players.  Guys like Golden Tate, Marshawn Lynch, Deangelo Williams, Alex Mack, and Jordan Cameron—just to name a few. 

          The AFWB is truly an amazing initiative—one that was hard work and a ton of fun.  If you would like to learn more about the organization and their projects, check them out on Facebook.  But I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to recognize and thank Daniel Condessa for personally undertaking and making the AFWB Rio weekend possible, pretty much single-handedly.  It is the guys like Daniel who have and continue to make the future of American football in Brazil one of limitless potential.

 

Check in at 7:00 PST for Part 2: Futebol American no Brasil (American Football in Brazil). 


 

Coach Daniel Levy on Facebook: www.facebook.com/coachdanimal