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14 Jan 2020
“With beach soccer I can show the kids of the favela that it is possible to follow a good path in life”
One of the world’s top three players talks about growing up in the birth place of beach soccer and its effect on his career
Rodrigo da Costa has soared to stardom in recent years as part of the new generation of elite Brazilian players who have come through the ranks under the supervision of the world’s best beach soccer coach of the last three years, Gilberto Costa.
Since joining the Canarinha in 2014, Rodrigo has gone from strength to strength, winning the Rising Star at the 2016 Beach Soccer Stars gala, and just this year being nominated in the three-man shortlist of the best players in the world.
He is closing in on his 100th appearance for his national team (97 games) and in that time he has netted no less than 139 goals, and there are clearly many more awaiting the young forward.
Where it all began
Born in Rio de Janeiro on the 16 August 1993, Rodrigo grew up playing beach soccer on the sands of the Copacabana. But his career as an athlete wasn’t always clearly mapped out for him.
“I graduated from high school and my first professional experience was in a stationery shop” states the striker. “I only started playing beach soccer in 2011 after being invited by a friend.”
“My first club was Botafogo from Rio de Janeiro. Since then I have had the opportunity to work with excellent players and coaches from all over the world who have shared their experiences with me.”
Back in Brazil Rodrigo has made quite a name for himself, but he will never forget his roots and, despite playing for several years in the Russian league with the beach soccer giants Kristall, he still lives in his home country with his father.
Inspiring the future of the game
“For many, beach soccer is just an accompaniment to their lives but for me it IS my life and my job. Today I’m a role model where I was born and raised. It is an opportunity for me to show the kids of the favela that it is possible to follow a good path. Just dream and believe.”
He is an role model to many, especially back in Brazil, but who was it that Rodrigo credits with him becoming who he is today?
“My parents influenced me a lot, teaching me to be disciplined, on time, to respect my teammates and coaches.” He also admits that there were other factors in his early life that formed his career. “Living near the beach helped a lot, because we played football in the sand all the time.”
For a man who has won everything at the tender at of 26, how does Rodrigo see his coming years in beach soccer?
“I want to evolve every day to keep myself at the top level for a long time, to win more titles, especially the ones I haven’t won yet, and to leave a legacy for the next generation of players.”
In terms of picking the two defining moments in his life, the Brazilian needs no thinking time…
“In beach soccer, winning the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup was the happiest moment, and in my personal life it was becoming a father.”
1x FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017
3x Intercontinental Cup
3x Conmebol Qualifiers
2x Copa Américas
2x Russian Championship
3x Russian Cup
Top Individual Awards
Top 5 Stars 2019
Rising Star 2016
adidas Silver Scorer 2017
Top Scorer Awards
Conmebol Qualifier 2019
2x Russian Championship 2017/2019
Russian Cup 2019
Mundialito de Clubes 2015
Brazil National Team 2017
2x Intercontinental Cup 2017/2018
Brazil National Team 2017
Copa America 2018
Russian Championship 2017
1st and 2nd Stage of the Russian Championship 2016