Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior 2013 - Preview

The 44th edition of the Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior begins on January 4, 2013. One of the largest junior tournaments in the world, The competition will feature 100 clubs separated into 25 groups. Globally recognized clubs, such as Corinthians and Flamengo, are placed in with clubs few outside of their home state would know. Given the size and diversity of Brazil, both geographically and population-wise, it should not surprise anyone to know that upsets happen regularly. This year’s tournament should be no different.

Eligible players for the 2013 tournament are those with birth years, 1993-97. This will make this year's tournament an Under-19 (The Sao Paulo federation uses 2012 as the reference year for this tournament) competition rather than an Under-18 tournament like the previous few years. This change is likely to make this tournament even more unpredictable because many of the elite players born in 1993 will already be playing at the senior level and individual clubs will need to decide if those players will be involved or not. It is certain that decisions will vary.

Identifying the favourites in this tournament is especially difficult, but most lists would start with the teams representing the 15 or so biggest clubs in Brazil. Still, tournament history teaches us that winners are not always from this group of big clubs. In fact, eight of the last 20 winners do not sit among the CBF's current top 20 clubs.

The fact that some of Brazil's best recognized developers of talent have not been that successful shows how difficult this tournament is to win. Santos (1984) Cruzeiro (2007), and Vasco da Gama (1992) have only won this tournament once and Gremio-RS and Botafogo-RJ have yet to win.

In any year, the winner needs a combination of talent, depth, and luck. To win the tournament, the team must play eight games in three weeks where the last five games must be won. Any team making it out of the group phase to participate in the 32-team knock out phase has to be considered dangerous in a one game knock-out. Of these teams, half are likely capable of winning the tournament if things go their way.

While every group has a seeded favourite, there are some groups that could prove to be extremely dangerous for the seeded teams of big clubs. Among the more interesting are:

Group H – Audax, Bahia, Criciuma, Botafogo of Paraiba: Audax are one of best academies in the state of Sao Paulo and Bahia are regularly strong at the youth level. Add Criciuma into the mix and there could be some surprises. Botafogo are the unknown in this group. .

Group K – Vasco da Gama, Comercial, Botafogo of Ribeirao Preto, Paysandu: Vasco da Gama should have the strongest team in this group but could very easily get upset. With group based in Ribeirao Preto, both Botafogo and Comercial are in their home city and both have had strong teams in the past. Paysandu also cannot be taken lightly.

Group R - Desportivo Brasil, Avai, Atletico Goianiense, America Natal: This group is very evenly balanced but the slight favourite has to be Desportivo Brasil. Their striker, Bruno Gomes, should be one of the top players in the tournament. But any slip up could create upsets.

Group W – Internacional, Gremio Esportivo Osasco, Paulista, Nacional-AM: While Nacional are not likely to cause much trouble for Internacional, Gremio Osasco are a battle-tested academy club and Paulista are a former winner and a noted giant killer.

 

Other Storylines to Watch as They Develop:

 

Be Wary of the Academy Clubs

These are clubs that have over-sized academies relative to the performance of their senior team, there are a number of them in this tournament with the potential to surprise. The most recognized outside of Brazil would be Desportivo Brasil because of its partnership with Manchester United. There are also several others who could be dangerous. Some names to watch in this tournament would be Audax, Red Bull Brasil, Gremio Esportivo Osasco, and Comercial of Ribeirao Preto. While Comercial is a long established club in Ribeirao Preto, it is included here because of its merger with another academy club called Ole Brasil.

All of these clubs are capable of disrupting the hopes of the big clubs. Desportivo Brasil may not be a favourite to win; but, few who know the youth systems in the State of Sao Paulo would be surprised if they did.

Surprises out of the Interior

Most of the time, clubs from the western and interior States of Brazil tend to fall in the group stage. But every so often, there is one that shocks. Rondonopolis from Mato Groso surprised a few teams in 2012, for example.

Reinforced Sao Paulo clubs

It is very common for Sao Paulo clubs to sign a number of reinforcements just prior to September's deadline. Small and mid-sized Sao Paulo clubs normally have strong teams already. Adding five or six reinforcements specifically for the this tournament can result in some surprises. Those in the greater Sao Paulo area are most dangerous. Teams from clubs like Taubate, Santo Andre, Gremio Barueri, Flamengo-SP, Juventus, and Nacional are likely reinforced from their last appearances and can shock even the best clubs.

The emergence of unknown players

There is always an expectation of great things from players of the big Serie A clubs; but occasionally surprises appear. For example in 2000, Juventus of Sao Paulo defeated Santos and Internacional on their way to the final, only to lose to Sao Paulo FC. That team had two starting centre backs named Alex and Luisão.

Filipe (now with Atletico Madrid) and Andre Santos played together with Figueirense in the 2003 edition of the tournament. In 2007, Wellington Silva (now at Flamengo) played the right back position with Everton Pascoa (currently Santos) in the middle and Juninho (now with Palmeiras) as left back wearing the shirt of Juventus (the team was actually supplied by Pao de Acucar EC).

More recently, others who made their first appearances with lesser known clubs in this tournament include former Brazil Under 20 stars Danilo (with America-MG) and Willian Jose (with Gremio Barueri) in 2009.

Who will appear with lesser known teams in 2013?

The Canadian Coach

Possibly one of the most unusual stories of this year's Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior has to be the story of Desportivo Brasil coach, Marc dos Santos.

Marc dos Santos is a Canadian, born in Montreal. His soccer development as a player, like many Canadian players, led him to Europe and elsewhere. Early on, he understood that his future as a player would be difficult and moved into coaching. At 26, he began his studies to become a coach. His early coaching education included working in internships at Porto under coaches including Jose Mourinho and he completed his UEFA “A” License through the Irish Football Association prior to going to Brazil. His first success as a head coach came in 2007 with a lower level cup title with the Trois Rivieres Attak and he then won the USL league title (North American second division after MLS but no promotion system) in 2009 with the Montreal Impact.

Dos Santos resigned from the Montreal Impact in 2011 and came to Brazil after an introduction to Roque Junior by Cesar Sampaio and an invitation from Roque Junior to coach Primeira Camisa’s entry into the 2012 edition of the Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior. Primeira Camisa surprised many by making it to the final sixteen where they lost to the eventual champion, Corinthians.

With that success, Cesar Sampaio brought him to Palmeiras to coach their under-15 team in February. While at Palmeiras, its under-15 team succeeded in winning the Copa do Brasil Sub-15 championship in July. It was this success that prompted Desportivo Brasil to hire dos Santos to be their Technical Director and their coach for the 2013 edition of the Copa São Paulo de Futebol Junior.

At the young age of 35 and with trophies in two countries, he has already caught the attention of some in the press in Brazil. Some because of the novelty but, others, watching his success and emphasizing his Portuguese experiences, have suggested that he might be the next Andre Villas-Boas.

Should Desportivo Brasil exceed expectations in this tournament, this story will likely become more widely reported. If they should win, who knows?

 

Art Zantinge can be found on Twitter - @azantinge and get updates from the tournament via Sambafoot and our Facebook group.

 

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April 21, 2015
20:48Lucas could be on way out of Liverpool as Rodgers plans spending spree
19:57Luis Suarez ‘timid’ around Neymar
19:36A diminished Corinthians side set to face São Paulo in Libertadores
13:47Juventus to turn attention from Oscar to Liverpool's Raheem Sterling
13:45Barcelona to increase renewal offer for Dani Alves
13:41Marquinhos dreaming of comeback against Barcelona
13:39Chelsea's Oscar praises Felipe Anderson
13:37Suárez reveals he was 'timid' ahead of meeting Messi and Neymar following move from Liverpool
12:24São Paulo’s Alan Kardec hopes to return to action in October
12:13Pratto still learning every day with Atlético-MG
09:52Gabriel Paulista set for a run in the Arsenal team
09:50Liverpool’s Lucas warns younger stars
09:47Chelsea offer Filipe Luís for Koke
08:01Pelé: United States "deserve" to host 2026 FIFA World Cup
April 20, 2015
22:55Hellas Verona goalkeeper Rafael happy hard work paid off after saving Alessandro Diamanti's penalty
20:18Filipe Luis could leave Chelsea for Madrid return
20:12Paulistão: Palmerias defeat Corinthians in epic shootout
20:11Diego Costa returns to Chelsea training
19:40Van der Sar praises Mourinho for Diego Costa masterstroke
19:33Liverpool’s Lucas misses out on Wembley yet again
18:04Report: Liverpool to rival Juventus bid for Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto
17:15Manchester City midfielder Fernando pleased with West Ham United win and wants strong end to the season
16:27Thiago Silva out of Barça clash
16:25Eight Corinthians football fans shot dead in Brazil
16:24Dani Alves says Barça are coming into PSG game strongly
16:22Adriano: 'Messi, Suárez and Neymar the best attack in the world'
16:21Neymar and Luis Enrique are at peace, says the player's father
15:22Report: Manchester United scout Internacional midfield duo Eduardo Sasha and Rodrigo Dourado
14:04Report: Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto happy to join Juventus as reserve to first choice Gianluigi Buffon
10:12Paulinho impresses against Newcastle
10:05Oscar reminds the Premier League of his talent
09:52Ronaldinho rolls back the years for Querétaro
09:28Brazilians in Europe: Jonas strikes again for Benfica
09:11Paulistão: Santos defeat São Paulo to qualify for the final
April 19, 2015
22:56Liverpool’s Lucas says camera phones mean danger for young players
22:39Minas Gerais State Championship: Atlético Mineiro defeat rivals Cruzeiro
22:26Coutinho goal not enough for Liverpool to avoid FA Cup defeat
20:54Milan Assistant Coach Mauro Tassotti explains why Alex started the Derby della Madonnina
17:26Report: Roma consider mutual termination for defender Maicon after injury hit season
16:07Roma Head Coach Rudi Garcia unsure when Maicon will return from knee injury
11:24Grêmio manager Luiz Felipe Scolari refutes suggestion that he is set to move to China
09:55Juventus Director General and Sports Department CEO Giuseppe Marotta discusses Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto
April 18, 2015
15:51Manchester United target Marquinhos commits future to PSG
15:50PSG captain Thiago Silva to miss Nice game
15:49Philippe Coutinho on meeting Pelé
15:48Juliano Belletti talks about Neymar
15:47David Luiz defended by mother after Champions League horror show
April 17, 2015
20:53Willian focuses on defence at Chelsea
20:09Oscar ‘very happy’ at Chelsea
20:02Coutinho’s Liverpool success makes Inter chief ‘sad’
April 21, 2015
13:47Juventus to turn attention from Oscar to Liverpool's Raheem Sterling
13:45Barcelona to increase renewal offer for Dani Alves
13:41Marquinhos dreaming of comeback against Barcelona
13:39Chelsea's Oscar praises Felipe Anderson
13:37Suárez reveals he was 'timid' ahead of meeting Messi and Neymar following move from Liverpool
April 20, 2015
16:27Thiago Silva out of Barça clash
16:25Eight Corinthians football fans shot dead in Brazil
16:24Dani Alves says Barça are coming into PSG game strongly
16:22Adriano: 'Messi, Suárez and Neymar the best attack in the world'
16:21Neymar and Luis Enrique are at peace, says the player's father
April 18, 2015
15:51Manchester United target Marquinhos commits future to PSG
15:50PSG captain Thiago Silva to miss Nice game
15:49Philippe Coutinho on meeting Pelé
15:48Juliano Belletti talks about Neymar
15:47David Luiz defended by mother after Champions League horror show
April 17, 2015
14:17Pelé would pick Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo
14:14Barcelona president Bartomeu warns Neymar
14:12Neymar plays down his gestures in Sevilla game
13:43Laurent Blanc coy on PSG's interest in Dani Alves
13:40Pelé insists Neymar is reaching the level of the best
April 16, 2015
15:46Porto played with their hearts in their boots, says Casemiro
15:45Ex-Arsenal midfielder Gilberto says Brazil must prioritise World Cup qualifiers over Copa América
15:43Ex-England coach Hoddle: 'David Luiz plays like an eight-year-old'
15:42Beckenbauer says Dante played against Porto in ski boots
15:40Thiago Silva injured against PSG
April 15, 2015
15:23Neymar yet to reach physical peak, says Seedorf
15:22Suárez: 'My job is to help Messi and Neymar'
15:21Dani Alves' suspension wouldn't affect Barcelona against PSG, says Luis Enrique
15:19David Luiz included in PSG squad to face Barcelona
15:18Luis Enrique implies Neymar must accept that the coach have to make decisions
April 14, 2015
12:52Roberto Carlos wants to manage the Seleção later in his career
12:51Ex-Corinthians striker Carlos Tévez to return to Boca Juniors
12:50Neymar case - Barcelona president could face two years in prision
12:48Pelé: 'Every goal in Chile will see donation made to charity'
12:46Messi, Neymar and Suárez are the best, says Thiago Silva
April 13, 2015
14:20Barça vice-president: 'I don't know why Neymar was brought off'
14:19Messi has always been my idol, says PSG winger Lucas Moura
14:17Brazil hospital says Corinthians striker Paolo Guerrero likely has dengue fever
14:15Neymar outburst on being subbed off is sixth of the season
14:13Manchester Utd very interested in Lucas Moura
April 11, 2015
18:14Liverpool boss responds to John Terry selecting Coutinho as best player
18:12Dani Alves could stay at Barcelona
17:59Chelsea have bid accepted for Brazilian starlet Nathan
17:57Pelé says Messi and Neymar don't perform as well on international stage
17:49Neymar to comeback against Sevilla
April 10, 2015
14:31Ibrahimović is a champion, says Marquinhos
14:29Roberto Carlos picks his dream XI
14:28Barcelona after Italian full-back to replace Dani Alves
14:27Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are monitoring Lucas Moura's contract situation
14:25Cafú hails Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho
January 19, 2015
20:37Willian: 'Chelsea controlled the game'
January 11, 2015
19:49Coritiba confirm the signings of Negueba and Pedro Ken
17:17De Arrascaeta to Internacional can be announced any time now, says Defensor president
January 04, 2015
16:03Mircea Lucescu: Tour of Brazil will become part of Shakhtar history
15:08Lucescu: Shakhtar’s Brazil tour will be part of the history
January 03, 2015
12:16Sergei Palkin: It’s important for us to play with the top teams of the Brazilian league
January 02, 2015
16:49Cruzeiro confirm survey from Mexico regarding Anselmo Ramon
15:28Internacional have competition from Europe for De Arrascaeta
14:16No contacts with Internacional, says Sandro's agent
14:13Shakhtar goes on tour across Brazil
December 30, 2014
17:18Fluminense director says no offer for Darío Conca
December 25, 2014
14:37Leandro Damião to Cruzeiro is back on
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
19:09Sambafoot Sunday: Botafogo's Shaky Start to 2014
April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
12:59Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Paranaense's hurricane season
November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
April 21, 2015
08:01Pelé: United States "deserve" to host 2026 FIFA World Cup
April 20, 2015
22:55Hellas Verona goalkeeper Rafael happy hard work paid off after saving Alessandro Diamanti's penalty
18:04Report: Liverpool to rival Juventus bid for Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto
17:15Manchester City midfielder Fernando pleased with West Ham United win and wants strong end to the season
15:22Report: Manchester United scout Internacional midfield duo Eduardo Sasha and Rodrigo Dourado
14:04Report: Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto happy to join Juventus as reserve to first choice Gianluigi Buffon
April 19, 2015
20:54Milan Assistant Coach Mauro Tassotti explains why Alex started the Derby della Madonnina
17:26Report: Roma consider mutual termination for defender Maicon after injury hit season
16:07Roma Head Coach Rudi Garcia unsure when Maicon will return from knee injury
11:24Grêmio manager Luiz Felipe Scolari refutes suggestion that he is set to move to China
09:55Juventus Director General and Sports Department CEO Giuseppe Marotta discusses Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto
April 17, 2015
19:58Orlando City SC defender Rafael Ramos credits Kaká for helping early season form
18:51Chelsea manager José Mourinho confident of finalising deal for Atlético Paranaense midfielder Nathan
17:03Report: Juventus to compete with Manchester City for defender Alex Sandro
08:11Report: Roma make progress on deal for Torino wing-back Bruno Peres
07:54Report: Napoli tracking Cruzeiro full-back Mayke
April 15, 2015
20:51Fiorentina Head Coach Vincenzo Montella admits goalkeeper Neto is not 100% fit for Dynamo Kyiv tie
16:03Bayern Munich Head Coach Pep Guardiola name-checks FC Porto's Casemiro as possible threat
15:34Barcelona Director of Football Ariedo Braida denies interest in Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson
14:42Paris Saint-Germain manager Laurent Blanc denies a proposal has been made to Barcelona's Daniel Alves
12:54Atlético Paranaense midfielder Nathan confirms on Twitter that he is set to sign with Chelsea
April 14, 2015
08:02Report: Chelsea remain on track to secure deal for Atlético Paranaense midfielder Nathan
07:21Report: Corinthians reject approach from Roma for forward Malcom
April 13, 2015
16:32Report: São Paulo ready to make surprise offer for veteran Lazio forward Miroslav Klose
15:28Barcelona defender Daniel Alves insists he is yet to decide his future
14:44Manager Adrian Heath admits Orlando City SC were fortunate with Kaká penalty retake in 2-0 win at Portland Timbers
13:56Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson explains why it took him time to settle in Italy
13:43Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson hails Head Coach Stefano Pioli's influence on his development
April 12, 2015
19:29Sandro refuses to blame former manager Harry Redknapp for Queens Park Rangers' struggles
17:14Head Coach Caleb Porter confident Portland Timbers can stifle Orlando City SC star Kaká
14:42Barcelona Head Coach Luis Enrique not interested in "nonsense" surrounding Neymar substitution
13:21Report: Former Argentina Head Coach Alejandro Sabella to choose between Manchester City and São Paulo
12:56Brazil Head Coach Dunga doesn't want Lazio's Felipe Anderson compared to Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar
April 07, 2015
18:25Report: Sampdoria ready to extend forward Éder's contract until 2021
17:32Atlético de Madrid defender Miranda concedes Real Madrid are "probably the best in the world"
07:46Report: Fluminense ready to sell forward Kenedy to investment group ahead of possible Chelsea switch
07:25Internacional President Vitório Píffero confirms defender Fabrício will leave the club
April 06, 2015
20:57Report: Napoli, Porto, Roma and Sporting CP set to battle for Torino wing-back Bruno Peres
18:54Report: Paris Saint-Germain duo David Luiz and Thiago Motta doubtful for UEFA Champions League clash with Barcelona
17:52Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi admits loss of David Luiz and Thiago Motta to injury is "distressing"
16:46TSG 1899 Hoffenheim midfielder Roberto Firmino believes playing in the Bundesliga has helped him develop
07:36Report: Tottenham Hotspur to sell midfielder Paulinho as part of summer clear-out
April 05, 2015
17:35Report: Paris Saint-Germain ready to make big bid to secure Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira
17:30Report: Benfica to target Livorno full-back Maicon
10:28Agent Bernardo Silva: Bruno Peres "will certainly leave Torino this summer"
April 03, 2015
07:56 Owner Sourav Ganguly hints that Orlando City SC's Kaká could play for Atlético de Kolkata in the 2015 ISL
April 01, 2015
19:04Agent Stefano Castagna suggests Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool want Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto
19:00Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu praises counterpart Neto
18:51Agent Luciano Ramalho confirms Milan loanee Pablo Armero could move to Flamengo
March 31, 2015
08:02Report: Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United to compete for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino
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