15. Várzea (Amateur Football)

One of the origins of football in São Paulo goes back to Várzea do Carmo, in the central region of São Paulo, adjacent to the convent of the same name. The space was frequently affected by the floods of the Tamanduateí River, and it is said that it was in this marshy land that Charles Miller introduced the practice of football in the last years of the 19th century. In the first decades of the following century, the amateur teams organized themselves under the competitive form of leagues and went to play in regular fields, with their respective stadiums, such as the Velodromo, in the neighborhood of Consolação, where the Prado family founded in 1900 the first Club Athletico Paulistano headquarters.

In the 1920s, while the modernists were making their artistic-literary agitations and the official football tournaments attracted thousands of fans, Amateur Football was developing. Although the term referred to the banks of the São Paulo rivers, with their irregular and curvilinear lines that, little by little, underwent human and governmental interference, the meaning of the “várzea” category was expanded to any and all teams from the periphery, which worked in parallel to the competitions of elite clubs, among them Pinheiros, located on the banks of the homonymous river, Pinheiros River.

Among the examples of that decade, we can mention Lausanne Paulista, in the extreme North Zone of the city, a neighborhood team with a Swiss name that has been shining in the amateur football since 1927. In the East Zone, another team, this one with a very Brazilian name – Clube Atlético Carrão –, was founded in 1928. The central region, in turn, was represented by the Associação Atlética Anhanguera, also founded in 1928 on the initiative of Italian-Brazilians in the Barra Funda neighborhood.



Editing of the film Subterrâneos do Futebol (1965), by Maurice Capovilla, showing the practice of football in the amateur football fields of São Paulo. Duration: 1min55s

Video: Direction: Maurice Capovilla | Production: Thomaz Farkas

Editing: Mira Filmes