Audace Verona, the certainties of Jessica Naiara: “Family, friendship, God”

First 40 minutes with the RossoneriBold Verona on his shoulders, 35 ‘of which played head to head with a favorite Bitonto not only in the match, but throughout the championship. Beyond the final result, however Jessica Naiara Dos Santos is a debut to remember in an ER Arena even more beautiful for Sky’s cameras.
“Being there for us players is like setting foot on another planet: you shiver, your eyes fill with tears, it’s a different game from the rest. And this can also affect the pitch, especially at the debut: we made many mistakes with the ball at our feet, but we made it clear that we were tough because we were always in the game. Then we run out of oxygen a little and Lucilèia is never wrong. Cenedese also played very well. And to think that it was I who brought her to Puglia at the time of Fasano… I should have kept her with me again, rather than as an opponent ”, she laughs.

For seven years in the beautiful country and no air of crisis.
“If Italy doesn’t leave me, I won’t leave Italy – he laughs again. – I feel great here and I can only thank all the people who welcomed me as one of the family and helped me from the first moment. Giovanni Montanaro, for example, is my dad in Italy, but I don’t forget anyone: there is so much love in the hearts of the people around me. I always say that I don’t go anywhere alone, with them I could reach any destination “.
He has already found a home in Verona too: not intended as the four walls after a workout, but the one to return to when looking for a bit of human warmth.
“A chat with the management was enough for me, first of all with the president Betteghella, to understand what kind of environment I would find: there is great honesty and the desire to improve every year. The care of the player for them lies not only in punctuality from an economic point of view, but in all the details: the choice of the field, a very good physiotherapist always available, the right visibility to all the players, and I could go on and on. Here, Betteghella is the very person who pushed me to say yes. And then I was very happy to hear from Mr. Zanetti that he strongly wanted me in his team ”.

This happens: two or more people know each other, a bond is created and this bond, intensifying, makes being so far away from one’s family a less difficult test to overcome. Unfortunately there is no longer her father Dos Santos, but waiting for her there is always her mother Cleonice, or rather “Dona Preta”, her example of her life.
“If I play 5-a-side football it’s because my father did it and I followed him in every game, what I am – however – I owe to my mother. She has been working in the same hospital for 30 years: for 25 years she has worked as a cleaning lady, for 5 she has been working in the kitchen. I’ve always seen her work a lot and when she came back she never lacked the strength to play with us until late. She is the most special person I know, the one I would like to become myself. She taught me that she never gives up ”.
And she was the one who told her to cross the ocean to become a pro when that train passed.
“In Brazil, football gives you very little. We study, work and then play. Here, over time, I gained something priceless: independence and the opportunity to help my mother. I remember her joy when a sponsor gave me a pair of playing shoes. She told me: “Now you can go far”. There was never a lack of food, but shoes were something more. It was hard to buy them, it rarely happened. I understood this immediately, so I was a child who never asked for anything and I am a woman who is grateful for everything. I will never forget who helped me, because 5-a-side football has changed my life and now it is I who can give my mother gifts. The most beautiful I’ve done to her? Always be with her. Every time I go back to Brazil I spend all my time with her. I am going to visit her by surprise in the workplace, take her for a beer and listen to her talk for hours, just like I would do with my best friend ”.

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Or as he would do with his “irmanzona” (big sister, ndc), Rafa Pato. From very small opponents to (still very small) teammates, the step was short towards Leo Mendez’s Araraquara. “We fought a lot, as you see us do today – she laughs – but a beautiful friendship was born, because we are two similar people: she too comes from an honest family that taught her to fight to achieve her goals. They called us Ronaldinho white and Ronaldinho Gaucho. We shared everything for years, we were always together, then she went to play in Russia and I felt lost. The following year she went to Portugal and for me, instead, the beautiful Italian adventure began that allowed us to meet again, but the relationship has always remained very strong. It is as if we feel when one needs the other. Before important matches, she always calls me: from the outside she looks strong, but I know her frailties and I am always close to her ”.

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Family, friendship and God. Faith is an unshakable value in Naiara’s life.
“There was a bit of a tough time at home before my parents broke up. Even though I was very young, I went to church by myself and felt better after a while. The bad thoughts receded. I’ve never stopped believing, it makes me feel safe ”.
Seven years here and only now we seem to really know her. Only one question remains in our notebook: why 21?
“A tribute to Claudia Cuccu. After the breaking of the Crusader, they all had a thousand doubts about my condition. Will he be back as before? Will it be Jessica herself? Will she have fully recovered? She didn’t ask me any questions: she told me that she liked my way of playing and that she would want me at Cagliari Women’s Futsal. When she stopped playing, I decided to take her number. Simply my way of saying thank you, once again ”.

Cover photo: Federica Arca (Audace Wave)
Photos in the article: Federica Arca (Audace Wave), 5-a-side Football Division and Debora Braga (City of Falconara)

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Audace Verona, the certainties of Jessica Naiara: “Family, friendship, God”