WOODBURY, Minn. (WCCO) — At the end of a quiet little cul-de-sac in Woodbury, it’s about as quintessentially suburban America as it gets.
But find the right row of townhouses, and you’ll see where a number Minnesota United players have carved out their own little slice of Brazil.READ MORE: Alec Baldwin Fired Prop Gun That Killed Cinematographer, Injured Director On Movie Set (CBS News)
OK, make it a big slice.
There are seven Brazilians on the Loons roster, and three of them – Tiago Calvano, Juliano Vicentini, and Ibson – all live in the same townhouse complex in Woodbury. Another, Daniel Mendes, lives just down the road.
“Daniel used to live here (in the town homes) as well,” Calvano points out.
And another, Cristiano Dias, is here so often he might as well live here too.
“Cristiano lives in Minneapolis downtown,” Calvano said, throwing a barb toward his friend. “But if you say, ‘I have a free cup of water,’ he comes. Coffee? Two minutes, he comes.”
“You can tell how much he loves me, right?” Dias replies.READ MORE: 3 People Shot In Separate Minneapolis Shootings Thursday Night
The team provides housing to the players as part of their contracts., but it’s their choice where they live. And, by and large, they’ve chosen to live together. For a reason.
“It definitely helps make it easier, with someone from your country, your culture,” Dias said. “Hanging out like this, eating, talking about everything that’s going on there, that’s going on there, that’s going on here. Always helps, for sure.”
Because here, Brazilian culture can be discussed, Brazilian food can be consumed, and Brazilian players can fulfill their need for community – in a place far from their own. They’ve even moved their families here.
“And (our) wives, they always hang out together,” Calvano said. “And that’s good, because we are away from our family and friends. And it’s good to have a lot of Brazilians and we can hang out and don’t miss much of our country, you know?”
There is one catch though. And as the season nears its end, it’s coming more to the forefront. Bright and sunny Brazil is a little different weather-wise from Vitamin-D deprived Minnesota.
“Where I come from, Rio de Janeiro, we don’t have winter,” Calvano explained.
So they don’t particularly care for Minnesota’s. They don’t stay for it either. But as long as they are here, they’re glad to be here together.MORE NEWS: Data Show COVID Cases In Minnesota Schools Have Declined, But Experts Still Watching For Long-Term Trends
“We love here,” Calvano said. “If (the fall weather) was the winter, that’d be perfect.”