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15.01.16 Florida Cup

Florida Cup: Yes, WE CAM! A passion in English and Portuguese

Young U.S.-born Atletico fans are thrilled with the chance to follow their idols at the Florida Cup

Felipe Torres | Goal Brasil | Atlético

BOCA RATON, Florida — “Look, daddy, it’s Crazy Rooster,” said an excited little boy, as Galo Doido invaded Atletico’s first training session in Boca Raton ahead of its first Florida Cup match against Schalke 04. The scene serves as a symbol on the impact the Alvinegro has been making in the United States, an unforgettable moment for a legion of fans who live over 4,000 miles from the club’s hometown of Belo Horizonte.

23738059343_8084bd22c0_zMore than that, the close contact between fans and their idols reveals the passion of even the youngest ones, born or raised in the U.S., who used to follow the team only through the media. They measured no efforts to welcome Galo at Fort Lauderdale’s airport in the early hours on Monday, and later watch as the team trained at Florida Atlantic University.

“My most unforgettable [Atletico] moment was Victor’s penalty save against Tijuana in the 2013 Copa Libertadores,” 16-year-old Pedro Henrique Oliveira, raised in the States, told Goal. “We were at home in Miami, and started celebrating, shouting.”

“I’m very glad for being able to follow Galo so close to home,” the teenager followed, as his father Marcello, an Belo Horizonte native whom he inherited the passion for Atletico, stood by.

As expected, the Atletico players will feel at home during the Florida Cup. The club’s fans can be seen in big numbers, including the presence of U.S.-based supporting groups such as Galo York.

“I never expected seeing Galo around. It’s a very pleasant surprise!” said Rafael Fernandes, who has been living in Massachusetts since 2002. “It’s as if we got a little closer to Atletico, and Brazil as well. YES, WE CAM*!”

Pedro Henrique, Marcello and Rafael won’t be missing Galo anymore, as the team is set to face its two Florida Cup opponents this week; first against Schalke 04 on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET in Fort Lauderdale, and then against rivals Corinthians on Sunday in Boca Raton at 2 p.m. ET.

Published on January 15 - 2016, at 14:18.