What a beautiful, beautiful game.
That time a young Syrian refugee and his family got to sit the stands to watch a soccer game for the first time:
In September 2015, the Santos football team in Brazil hosted a visit from 100 Syrian refugees, including 9-year-old Malek (link in Portuguese, but the pics are pretty darling all on their own tbh).
And that time when a young Brazilian soccer fan won us over with his homemade jersey, too…
Twelve-year-old Jonathan Denner couldn’t afford to buy a jersey, so he made his own in order to show his support for the Cruzeiro team and went viral (link in Portuguese).
…And got invited to visit the team’s training center.
Denner got to meet some of his favorite players, and of course, he also received an official jersey from the team (link in Portuguese).
That time in the 2016 South American Football Championship when James Marcelin scored Haiti’s first goal against Brazil, making him a national hero — especially poignant since he had been a survivor of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Even though Haiti ended up losing the game 7 to 1, Marcelin’s goal became an incredible source of inspiration (link in Portuguese), especially for the kids in his home country.
Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty Images
That time this young Portuguese fan showed sportsmanship toward a French fan after the 2016 Euro Cup.
Portugal had defeated France 1-0, but omg, this little buddy was the real MVP.
That time when a fan of the Aimoré Sports Club in Brazil wrote in to ask for a jersey, and added that he didn’t mind if it was stained or torn:
The team’s uniform manager was moved by the letter and set up a meeting with who he thought would be a little boy — but instead, the letter writer turned out to simply be a 33-year-old super fan.
That time at the 2014 World Cup, when Serey Dié, a midfielder for the Ivory Coast national team, was moved to tears by his country’s national anthem.
Later in an interview, Dié explained that he never thought he’d play for his country — and had also been thinking of his father, who died ten years beforehand.
Adrian Dennis / AFP / Getty Images
That time this fan showed us the true meaning of dedication:
The 47-year-old Brazilian retiree Jairton da Rocha, though unable to walk, has become a familiar face at his favorite team’s games throughout the year (link in Portuguese).
That time this fan gave his extra ticket to a man collecting cans outside the stadium, and invited him inside to watch a match for the first time:
Honestly, soccer fandom >>>
And finally, that time this fan decided to “put his heart to the test” after heart surgery by going to a game:
He’d literally had heart surgery EIGHT days (link in Portuguese) before the game. What a champ!
This post was translated from Portuguese.