Footvolley: from Rio to the world
In 1965, at the height of the military dictatorship in Brazil, restrictions were imposed on the practice of some sports on the beach. With that, to circumvent the ban, a group of young people used to playing the “pass line” (a kind of altinha with goal and goalkeeper), decided to start occupying a volleyball court in the sand, a space that until then was freed up for them. sports practice. It was born there, at Rua Bolívar, in Copacabana, a sport that at the time was called “pévôlei”.
Copacabana, 1971 / source: Footvolley4ever.com
It all started on a court loaned in the spare time by members of the volleyball team that played there, to the group of young people led by Octavio de Moraes, Tatá, in search of keeping the ball in the air. There, within those 4 lines, with a net of 2,43m in height, and, under the eyes of the policemen, a perfect combination of two of the most popular sports in the world, football and volleyball, emerged with great creativity.
In the beginning, there were five members on each side of the net, in endless matches, using only their feet and head. After a few months, the first exclusive footvolley court was created, in front of Rua Constante Ramos and, until the mid-70s, new networks appeared in Leme and Ipanema. Thus the first rivalries were formed, among the only four footvolley nets in the world.
Over time, the game evolved into doubles disputes, with an increasingly higher technical level, which, in the 80s, attracted names like Maradona, Jairzinho, Zico, Júnior and Edinho. The involvement of football idols brought interest from major brands and TV stations, which started broadcasting the first championships of the sport, such as Copa Itaú, on Ipanema beach. Thus, the sport gained even more national proportion, reaching other capitals of Brazil, such as Brasília, Recife and Vitória. This decade was also marked by the emergence of talents such as Renan Lemmers, considered one of the greatest players of all time, who debuted with a title at the Miguel Lemos Cup (Copacabana), in 1985, when he was only 15 years old.
In the 90s, players like Romário and Renato Gaúcho were enchanted by footvolley, helping to further expand their reach. At that time, competitions of national level appeared in Recife and Brasília, in addition to new televised events, such as Super footvolley, a 4 × 4 challenge on the beach of Ipanema, in 1999, and broadcast live on Rede Globo. It was also during this decade, that women started to integrate the competitive scenario with participation in mixed disputes, with emphasis on names such as Soraya Oliveira, Valeria Freitas, Marcia Weinzettl and Daniele Razigade.
Maradona, 1985 / source: Agência O Globo
Throughout this period, footvolley technically evolves, becoming more dynamic and plastic, with emphasis on the creation of Shark Attack, invented by the former athlete and current sports manager, Léo Tubarão.
Although there has already been evidence of the practice of footvolley outside Brazil since 1980, starting in 2000, the international expansion of the sport was more prominent, with the introduction of the technique by Brazilians in Portugal, Italy and the United States. Today, footvolley is already practiced in more than 40 countries on all continents.