Like any true Brazilian, I like football and, since my childhood, every four years I always watched on TV the biggest tournament of the sport - the FIFA World Cup.
The first World Cup that I remember well is the one in Italy in 1990. After that, there was the memorable Brazil's title in 1994 in the United States, followed by other Cups played around the world.
It was so cool to see people of different nationalities celebrating around the planet's most popular sport, promoting respect and peace among different races.
And I always wondered when Brazil would organize a new Cup, since the only one we had hosted was in 1950. But that dream seemed distant, because I only saw developed countries get chosen to host the event, as the example of France, Japan, Germany and others.
The 21st century arrived, and FIFA decided to implement a rotation of continents to host the World Cup. The first choice under this new regime was South Africa, elected to organize the 2010 World Cup. And the next tournament came to Brazil!
The announcement confirming that Brazil would host the 2014 World Cup was made in October 2007. At the time I was living in Australia, where I had been working and studying for several years. I received the news with great excitement, and since then I kept thinking about how this unprecedented occasion would be very special to my country Brazil.
More still when, in 2009, Rio de Janeiro was confirmed as the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Hosting the World Cup and the Olympics one after the other, no country has ever done it in history!
With this in mind, some years later I decided to go back to live in Brazil. I started my company and kept following the preparations for the two mega events.
In 2013, I signed up at the FIFA website to participate as a volunteer in the World Cup. In this job, the money was the least important factor to me. I knew it would be a great opportunity to promote the name of GoTripps.com, as well as to get involved in the historic organization of world's biggest event in Brazil. Above all, I was going to realize one of my childhood dreams!
I went through the many stages of the FIFA selection process, doing online trainings and interviews. The year of 2014 began, and, in the end of January, I was selected to work in Team Workshop event, held in February at the Costão do Santinho Resort in Florianopolis. I helped to organize the airport logistics of all event participants, having close contact with the coaches and delegations of the participating countries - starring the world champion Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque.
This great event in Florianopolis left everyone in the World Cup mood, and, weeks later, I received the confirmation that during the tournament I would be working in the Press Operations sector at the Arena Stadium in Curitiba. One of the most requested positions by the applicants!
Weeks before the start of the event, we had meetings and training at the stadium, when I met the people who I was going to work with and learned the details about our activity during the Cup.
Curitiba hosted 4 games in the group stage of the World Cup: Iran x Nigeria; Honduras x Ecuador; Australia x Spain; Russia x Algeria.
Our mission was to assist journalists from around the world in different areas in the stadium, including the Media Center, Press Conference Room, Media Tribune, Mixed Zone and also on the field of play.
I was already very excited to be a part of an event of this magnitude, performing such an important role. But for me the experience was even more special.
Within the Press Operations team, I was selected to be the personal assistant to the FIFA Media Officer - the executive sent from Switzerland to take care of all media operations in Curitiba. It was a truly unique experience: I had the opportunity to welcome the teams at the stadium, explored the whole structure of the international TV broadcasting and, during the first two games played in Curitiba, I worked on the field of play!
I even appeared in the FIFA official broadcasting during the games, check it out in the video below:
After the last game in Curitiba, between Russia x Algeria, everyone who worked at the stadium was allowed to invade the field and take pictures - a last souvenir from our World Cup working experience. It was a very nice way to reward our commitment, and to celebrate the success of the event organization in the city!
Just the fact the World Cup happened in Brazil again after 64 years was already historic. And having the chance to help to organize the event was simply unforgettable!
I saw sports celebrities, met amazing people from the journalism and marketing industries, made friends all over the world and learned things for life. It was certainly one of the best experiences I've ever had, nothing will ever make me forget the 2014 World Cup - the most special Cup of all! Thank you very much!