Last week, A.D. Centro Olímpico, an extension of the Brazilian state of São Paolo’s Centro Olímpico de Treinamento e Pesquisa (translates to “Center of Olympic Training and Research;” acronym is “COTP”), announced that it had signed ten former Santos FC players, including Brazilian Women’s National Team players Érika dos Santos , Maurine Dornelles Gonçalves, and Gabriela Zanotti Demoner, to one-year contracts with its women’s soccer club team. All Santos’ players were “orphaned” in December when that club dropped its powerhouse women’s team due to financial issues (OurGameMagazine.com).
To clarify, the COTP is a mostly state-ran, and literally, by the state of São Paolo through its Department of Sports, Leisure, and Recreation. The state of São Paolo has over 40 million residents, 11 million of which live in its capital, the city of São Paolo.
The seven other former Santos players who have signed with Centro Olímpico are Calan, Raquel, Janaína, Kelly, Chú (Francisleide), Paula, and Karen.
All three of the National Team players mentioned earlier have an American connection: Maurine and Érika have played in the WPS, while Gabriela played for Franklin Pierce University (NCAA D2). Another player transferring to the team also has an American connection: Mayara da Fonseca Bordin, who played for Florida International University. Mayara was last with the Brazilian club Foz Cataratas.
Players on the squad will have access to Centro Olímpico departments and facilities, including its sports medicine section, its physiology laboratory, and its fitness center.
It is unclear how long Centro Olímpico has had its amateur senior team, but prior to this, the only notable player connected to the team was Rosana. In 2011, before the Women’s World Cup, she was contracted with the team, but afterwards, she signed with French powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais. Also, in November 2010, the facility where A.D. Centro Olímpico is based opened a new field for women’s soccer (news article, in Portuguese). Centro Olímpico also has its own women’s youth teams (U-15, U-17, etc.).
Some additional background: A.D. Centro Olímpico is legally a separate entity from the COTP. And, to compare this to the USA, consider the hypothetical where the USOC Training Center at Chula Vista was actually operated by the state of California and hosted its own women’s football club which consisted of local U-xx teams, plus a senior W-League team. (Additionally, see this history of A.D. Centro Olímpico, which explains the clubs origins from two separate sponsored athlete programs.)
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Official link: Secretaria Municipal de Esportes (São Paolo), which is not that detailed, so see…
News coverage (in Portuguese): Esportes.Terra.com.br (article); Sportv.Globo.com; Esportes.Terra.com.br (photos); and a video segment (band.com.br).
Additional links: A.D. Centro Olímpico’s website (www.adcentroolimpico.com.br) (which is just a Ning.com social media site); A.D. Centro Olímpico’s old blog (adcentroolimpico.blogspot.com); COTP Micro-site (www.prefeitura.sp.gov.br)