Meet the Match

A Brazilian Women's Soccer Leader Grows the Sport

Júlia Vergueiro is the owner and CEO of Pelado Real Futebol Clube.

Born to a soccer-loving family in Sao Paulo, Julia grew up within walking distance of Sao Paulo FC’s stadium and has regularly attended games with her family since she was a child. After university, she worked as a sustainability analyst for a national bank. Despite a promising careerpath, Julia quit three years into the job and instead joined a friend, Bibi Martins, who had started a soccer group for women named Pelado Real Futebol Clube.

Officially founded in 2011, Pelado Real grew more serious with Julia and Bibi’s partnership. Soon parents began contacting the group about training their young daughters. Then, in 2015, the club partnered with Italian soccer champions Juventus to run a camp for girls in the city. Julia and Pelado Real now run their own Girls Soccer Clinic, Soccer School for Girls, and regular training sessions for adult women. In total, more than 200 girls and women participate in the club’s monthly activities.

With the club’s rise to prominence, Júlia has worked to ensure its sustainability by establishing partnerships with local and national partners for field space and equipment. The club acquired NIKE as a ball and uniform sponsor, and was invited by the company to model its 2018 World Cup soccer jerseys for its Brazilian website and stores.

By participating in the GSMP, Júlia is further demonstrating the potential of women’s soccer in her country and the way supporting its growth can positively impact brands. Through the increased visibility of her work, and the business skills and networking she has been exposed to on the exchange, she is able to implement projects, such as a new scholarship program for Brazilian female soccer players to study in the United States.

Júlia earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo. Outside of work, she enjoys playing soccer, the beach, and spending time with her 1-year-old mutt dog, Bedoya.

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