Soccer team perishes in plane crash

Brazilian club Associacao Chapecoense de Futebol tragically loses most of squad in unfortunate LaMia flight

The soccer community mourns the tragic loss of Chapecoense de Futebol players who, in addition to coaching staff and journalists, died in an unfortunate plane crash on their way to a title defining match.

The Brazilian soccer team had somewhat of a Cinderella story, as in recent years, they have shown to be what lovers of the game look forward to. The team worked its way up and fought hard to make it to the Compeonato Brasileiro Serie A league.

With valiant efforts coupled with blood, sweat and tears, they found themselves on their way to participate in a cup tournament. The young team, established in 1973, came in as underdogs and, in a surprising effort, found themselves moving closer and closer to their dream of winning the Copa Sudamericana title.

They were on their way to the final, which was set to be played in Columbia against Atletico Nacional. It is absolutely heartbreaking that the team perished before they could ever try and play for the win.

The plane, which crashed on the evening of Nov. 28 in Columbia, had a total of 77 people on board. Out of the 77 passengers, 71 died. That 71 includes all 21 journalists who were on board as well as the entire coaching staff.

Surviving players include: Left back, Alan Ruschel; center back, Neto; and second string, goalkeeper Follmann. Follmann’s career, however, is at an unfortunate end as one of his legs had to be amputated because of the severity of his injuries.

This unfortunate situation begs the question, “what happens now?” The management of the team still has no idea, but the rest of the soccer world stands tall in how teams, coaches and players have lent a helping hand.

First, with the title match that they were to participate in, the Atletico Nacional intentionally forfeited the game so that Chapecoense would be declared victors. Other Brazilian clubs in the league took it upon themselves to offer some of their players’ services for free, while still paying the wages for the players.

Other teams in the league also submitted a formal request to the Brazilian FA to not relegate the mourning club for three years and instead leave them in the league, with time to rebuild.

Fans have also made a huge effort in supporting the club as on early Dec. 1, the hardest jersey to find in the soccer world was, and still is, one of the Brazilian team. Fans have bought as many as possible in order to give revenue to the team and aid them in their move forward.

EA Sports, on FIFA Ultimate team, also sent the virtual jerseys to players of the game so as to use the team kit and logos, in a show of support.

Players have stepped forward and helped the team as well. Three-time player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, gave two million euros to the club as a form of aid and support to the team, other players have forwarded resources to help the team rebuild as well.

Brazilian soccer legend, Ronaldinho has also rendered his services to the team for free and hopefully, his presence will attract more high profile players to join and rebuild the team.

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