Flavio Augusto da Silva Shares Inspiring Story Of His First Soccer Stadium

Flavio Stadium

Flavio Augusto da Silva, the majority-owner of Orlando City Soccer Club, is more excited than anyone for Orlando City’s new soccer-specific stadium. But at the seat installation ceremony on Thursday, Flavio revealed that this is not the first soccer stadium he has built.

“I grew up in a very poor area of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil; the name of the neighborhood is Jabour. This place is surrounded by many slums, very poor neighborhood; a lot of crimes,” Flavio explained. “And when I was 8 to11 years old, the thing that I liked to do the most was play soccer. When you live in poor areas like that in South America, you don’t have fields—beautiful green fields, and you also don’t have pitches. So you’ve got to have imagination. So, with little pieces of stone, we drew the sidelines and the box in the streets. And we could play barefoot soccer in the streets, on the asphalt. I’m not sure you’ll have played soccer in this way. It was very common to stop the game because the cars had to pass. And the posts, we didn’t have posts, so we had to build our own posts with our flip-flops. So, the combination of the stone, flip-flops, and some imagination, I built my first stadium. So, this is not my first stadium, it is my second one.”

Silva laughs at this last comment, but there is power in his words. Silva’s own journey can serve as a sign of what the game of soccer can bring to the world, and the kind of home that Orlando City is creating for future generations of soccer fans. 

“I must thank our supporters, because in the end these supporters made us very confident to go through the challenge of constructing this stadium,” Silva said. “So, actually the way for us to give them back a big thank you is give them a home. So now we have a home here, our supporters have a home here in Orlando. I would like to thank them very, very much.”

“This stadium is really beautiful,” Silva said. “My heart is really full of joy.”