Lund soaks up experience of game in Brazil

Ben Lund at the Brasilis FC training camp this week.PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Ben Lund at the Brasilis FC training camp this week.PHOTO: SUPPLIED
It is the stuff of the Boy’s Own annual — a finishing school at the home of the sport.

A young New Zealand footballer, fresh out of school, heading to Brazil to experience the sport and now back for more.

Ben Lund, who finished at John McGlashan College last year, was set to study engineering at the University of Otago.

But through Northern coach Luiz Uehara, he got an offer to train and play with the academy at Brasilis FC in Aguas de Lindoia, Sao Paulo state in Brazil.

Lund and club teammate Josh Skryba went for a month.

Should they impress, there was a chance they would be asked to stay longer.

Lund did impress and is back in Brazil, eating and breathing football in the country many consider the home of the sport.

The club acts as a gateway club for players to develop and progress to larger clubs.

Lund, who turned 18 the day he flew out to Brazil earlier this month, said it has all happened very quickly.

"These last few weeks have had so much going on and things have been moving so fast that I didn’t really had a chance to fully process it all. Before I knew it I was leaving Dunedin and at the airport in Sao Paulo," he said.

"In the build-up to leaving this time it definitely felt surreal and even while travelling, but I think once I touched down there the scale of what I was doing started to kick in a bit more."

Brasilis FC was founded by Oscar Bernardi, who was captain of the 1982 Brazilian World Cup team, one of the greatest sides to ever grace the pitch.

"Oscar still owns the club and is very involved. He’s there most days. I also see him in the gym — he is in great shape. He speaks good English and we have had a couple of brief conversations. It’s pretty amazing to be in a club with this pedigree."

Lund is playing preseason matches at the moment as the season is on at the same time as in New Zealand.

As expected, it is not easy.

Ben Lund playing for the Brasilis FC side. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Ben Lund playing for the Brasilis FC side. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

"The standard of football has, predictably, been higher than I am used to. I was unsure what to expect this time around in Brazil as the game dynamic is far different from training.

"The main difference is mainly the speed of the game and the intensity with which they train and play. Both are a great deal higher here. On top of that, the style of play is also somewhat different. However, this changes relative to what team you are playing against."

Brasilis FC plays in the fourth division of the Sao Paulo State Championship but is more of a feeder club.

Lund’s Portuguese is not great — he know a few words — but many people speak English and he can get by.

The centre back is taking it day by day though he will be back for Northern this season.

"The only definites I have at this stage are returning to New Zealand at the latest in mid-July, as this is as long as I can be here without having a visa and also having a short break, effectively, from Brazil during early April, so I will evaluate at that point how things are going.

"Apart from those two, I really have no idea what the future holds for me and at this point I am not planning on getting too bogged down in making future plans, as I have only been here for a week. It will take a bit of time to fully adjust and hence get a better perspective on where things are at. At the moment, while still in the adjusting phase, the focus is getting up to speed with the style and standard of football, and seeing how things progress there."

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