In Thailand, the Brazilian-born Portuguese footballer wore the Sea Eagle on his playing shirt at British International School, Phuket (BISP) as he commanded his goalkeeper area with confidence and skill.
For the imminent future, Souza will continue to wear the symbolic eagle on his shirt, having just signed his first professional contract with top Portuguese club S.L. Benfica – nicknamed The Eagles.
The club’s emblem features a bald eagle on top of the club’s crest, and its trained mascot - an eagle named Vitória (Victory) - flies around the stadium during home games carrying red and white ribbons. After a few laps, he lands on the club’s crest, completing it.
Seventeen-year-old Souza has spent the last three seasons as a goalkeeper for Benfica’s U18 academy side – the reigning national youth champions.
His newly penned professional contract will start next season, linking him with last year’s first league champions for at least the next three years.
Souza was in the BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy from 2015-2017 under head coach, Jonathas Candido.
“It’s a pleasure to see someone like Pedro reaching out to his dream of becoming a professional football player,” said Coach Jonathas. “I’ve known him since he was an under 9 player at Cruzeiro in Brazil and have followed his career closely ever since. His hard work and dedication have paid off.”
Coach Jonathas added that the path to professional football is not an easy one. “It’s complicated and there are no guarantees. The road is very hard and full of barriers.
“Young football players must reach for their playing dreams and stretch beyond their comfort zones. Pedro did that when he decided to move from Brazil to Thailand and he has reaped the rewards of this brave step.”
Benfica is the most decorated club in Portuguese football having won 80 domestic trophies and never having been relegated from Primeira Liga, the top tier in Portugal. They have an estimated 14 million supporters worldwide.
Notable players that have graced the shirt over the years include Paulo Sousa and Rui Costa, who were part of the Portuguese national team’s ‘Golden Generation’ of the 1990’s, former Brazil captain Ricardo Gomes, current Manchester City and Brazil goalkeeper Ederson and several players from Portugal’s celebrated team of the 1960’s including Mario Coluna, Germano and, most notably, Eusebio, who is regarded as one of the finest players of all time.
For more information on the BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org