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Following Tragedy, Chapecoense's Women's Team Seeks Strength and Inspiration

12/09/2016 - 01h54

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JULIANA GRAGNANI
SPECIAL ENVOY TO CHAPECÓ (SC)

Athletes on Chapecoense's women's soccer team plan on transforming the tragic deaths of the team's athletes and staff members into strength and inspiration.

"They became a source of inspiration for the team. We need to extend the legacy they left us", said Laura Brustolin, 17, with a worried look on her face.

According to her, she's been a Chapecoense fan since before she can remember.

On the pitch she's a right-back, but she also plays as goalkeeper on the indoor soccer team - Chapecoense's women's team originally came into fruition for the indoor modality.

The team, which is sponsored by Chapecó's city hall, went on a new journey at the start of 2016: they started playing on grass.

According to the regulations, the team would compete in next year's A division of the Brazilian soccer league.

"Our goal was to avoid relegation for 5 years and fight for the title in 2020 without changing the squad", said team coordinator Amauri Giordan, 36.

Giordan had asked the team to invest R$ 500 thousand (US$150 thousand) in the women's team in order to cover expenditures for soccer practice, insurance, competing in the league and hiring "four or five star players in order to strengthen the squad".

One of the players he had in mind was Bárbara, the goalkeeper on the women's national soccer team.

But now, everything is up in the air.

"We can't think about that sort of thing right now. If the team says 'we're going to have to put the project on hold', we'll be alongside them" said the team coordinator who was primarily concerned about "the delicate position the families of the deceased players, staff members and journalists are in", as well as the restructuring of the team.

INSPIRATION

According to defensive midfielder Rafaela Schinaider, 16, the 71 fatalities from the plane crash Tuesday (the 29th) "really got to the athletes".

"But we discussed what it could stand for and decided we should give our all and represent Chapecoense as best we can."

She said she wasn't sure about "what will happen to the team yet", but that everyone was going to keep practicing.

The girls would sometimes run into the male athletes on the field or in the cafeteria. They would chat and take pictures with them.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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