Brazilian goalkeeper Pedro Haveisen de Souza recently signed a professional contract with Portuguese side Sport Lisboa e Benfica aged just 15 and is now playing for the club’s Under 17 squad as their first choice keeper.
Pedro was invited to sign for Benfica’s academy last year and prior to his departure from BISP he spoke to The Phuket News about his time with the Cruzeiro Academy here in Phuket.
“I was with the Cruzeiro Academy in Brazil, but was invited here by the Head Coach Jonathas Candido to Phuket two years ago,” he said.
Asked why he was invited here to Phuket by Candido, Pedro explained, “Coach Jonathas was looking to bring in some Brazilian players to the academy here in Phuket on scholarships. He used to train my brother in Brazil and he remembered me.”
“He contacted my parents and advised them of what was available here in Phuket, we sat down and discussed it and decided that it would be the best thing for me to move here to Phuket.”
Talking about his experience with the academy here in Phuket, Pedro said that it was good because he had Coach Jonathas with him and also goalkeeping coach Fred Bragaglia, who he had worked with in Brazil.
“It was really nice to have these people here to support me because when I first came here I didn’t know anybody and it was a new country for me. They were always here to support me,” Pedro said.
Pedro initially thought it would be hard to make that change from Brazil to Thailand, but he actually adapted pretty well.
“All the people here were great and really helped me to settle in. The move wasn’t as bad as I had thought it was going to be,” he said.
When asked how he was noticed by Benfica, Pedro explained that his father knew someone who worked with a lot of players from Cruzeiro in Brazil and managed to set up trials for Pedro with the club.
“I went to Benfica for trials and they really liked me, so asked me to return again. I went back for a week of trials and they offered me a place at their academy.”
But the move to Benfica wasn’t as daunting to Pedro as when he moved to Phuket.
“It will be another big change, obviously, and I will be away from my parents again, but at least this time around I will already be able to speak the language – Pedro’s English skills were minimal prior to his arrival at BISP – and the culture is similar to that of Brazil,” he said.
“The most difficult thing for me will be that I won’t know anyone,” he added.
Speaking to The Phuket News after learning about his academy’s first pro signing, Coach Jonathas said, “This is something really, really big not only for us here at the BISP Cruzeiro Academy but also for the Cruzeiro club because the last Brazilian goalkeeper to play for Benfica was Ederson Moraes who now plays for Manchester City in the Premier League.”
“For some reason Benfica seem to really like Brazilian goalkeepers and Pedro is now someone that they see as having huge potential to join the main squad when he’s old enough,” he explained.
But Coach Jonathas had no doubt about Pedro’s ability. “Pedro was a goalkeeper for Cruzeiro from the age of 10 or possibly younger, and he went all the way through. When he arrived with us I already knew him from the club because I worked with him there. He always showed a great attitude and great talent to be a goalkeeper,” he said.
Jonathas then explained that the main reason Pedro was brought to Phuket was to learn English.
“His parents really wanted him to go to America, however, during his time here he impressed and now he has missed that step of going to America and has gone straight to Benfica.”
And Jonathas knows what Pedro can achieve as a goalkeeper and didn’t hold back when saying so. “He is a world-class keeper and is a name to look out for in the future.”
But when asked whether Pedro was good enough to play for the Brazilian national team, Jonathas explained that this was where Pedro had somewhat of a dilemma.
“Pedro has dual nationality, he’s both Brazilian and Portuguese. So at some point he will have to make that decision as to who he wants to play for. However, he already represented Brazil at a national level when he was 12, so it might well be that his decision is already made. But saying that, as he is now based in Portugal that might now sway his decision.”
We will have to watch this space to see what Pedro’s decision will be.