Meet Rafaelle Souza, Arsenal’s first signing from Brazil

Arsenal have added defender Rafaelle Souza to their women's squad as a backup.
2022-01-22 10:04:23

She is the first Brazilian player to wear the Gunners uniform, and she is 30 years old. The club’s men’s squad has previously included historical figures like Gilberto Silva and Edu.

Rafaelle was a regular member of the Brazilian National Team played in two Olympics and represented China’s Changchun Zhuoyue. She previously played club football in Brazil and college football in the United States, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Find out more about Rafaelle Souza’s career and playing style, as she makes history in England!

Rafaelle Souza’s long career in football

Rafaelle Souza’s football career began several years before he joined Arsenal.

In reality, she not only comes from a little village in Bahia, but she also played college football and earned her engineering degree in the United States. Football, on the other hand, is unquestionably her first focus.

Home in Bahia

Her career started when she was a teenager, when she walked down the street in her hometown for the first time. “I used to live in Cipó, in the interior of Bahia, and I used to constantly play futsal with the boys,” the athlete recounts in a CBF interview.

She came to Salvador in high school and rose to fame in school sports. She quickly drew the attention of the coach of Sao Francisco do Conde and, at the age of 15, was promoted to the senior squad, as well as being nominated for the Brazilian national team’s base.

She had a strong record in the 2007 Copa do Brasil, when she rose to attention and made a lasting impression in Brazilian football.

University in the United States and long term in China

She got a scholarship to study engineering in the United States after participating in the U-20 World Cup with the women’s squad in 2012. She balanced her education and athletics there, defending the Houston Dash shirt.

She returned to Brazil after finishing graduation in 2014. In the Brasileirão, she represented Sao Francisco and América-MG once again.

She was offered a contract to play in China in 2016, and she accepted it, signing for Changchun Zhuoyue, where she remained until she piqued Arsenal’s attention.

Short passage through Palmeiras

Rafaelle got the chance to wear the Palmeiras jersey in the start of 2021. Due to travel restrictions enforced to combat the Covid-19 outbreak, the defender had difficulty returning to China during his holiday in Brazil, and ended up going on loan to the Sao Paulo team in order to build pace for the Olympics.

Only eight games were played during the two-month stay. Rafaelle did not participate in the Brazilian Championship playoffs since his contract expired at the end of June, but he did assist the Alviverde squad in having one of the finest defenses in the campaign.

Versatility in the field

Arsenal’s centre-back has been bolstered. Rafaelle is a multi-talented individual. She was a versatile player who filled almost every position on the field throughout her career. She was a left-back when she was first called up to the Brazilian national team in 2011. As a result, her playstyle mixes quickness and technique, which is unusual for defenders.

During her time in the United States, she also played as a midfielder, and despite being signed as a defender, she has been used on attack a few times in Chinese football.

The story at Arsenal is likely to be different. Despite her background, she claims she can play in any position, but her ambition is to flourish in the defensive system: “I want to be the greatest defender I can be at Arsenal,” she said in an interview with

Constant presence in the Brazilian national team

Rafaelle Souza’s association with the yellow jersey dates back to before 2011. She started to obtain her first opportunity in the youth categories when only 15 years old, when she starred for So Francisco do Conde.

She became a regular name on the professional squad after successful spells with the under-17 and under-20 teams. She made the switch to center defense at the 2015 World Cup in Canada, when she was improvised owing to injury issues in the team. She never left after that.

Rafaelle has appeared in 33 games for Brazil, scoring five goals. Her most notable achievements were the Copa América (2018) and the Pan Americano (2015), in which she scored two goals in the semifinals.

She also competed in two Olympic Games (2016 and 2020). She had a strong showing in Tokyo, but she missed one of the penalties that clinched Brazil’s elimination in the quarterfinals against Canada.

Expectations at Arsenal

Arsenal Feminino has a long history in the sport and competes in the major European championships. He is in the quarterfinals of the Champions League this season and leads the Premier League. By the way, with 15 trophies, the Gunners hold the record for most championships in the tournament.

Rafaelle is a valuable addition to the club since she realizes the wonderful potential to play in England and is aware of the hurdles she will encounter.

“It’s an honor to be here and to be a part of such a powerful and competitive league.” “My task is to show the world my football,” the defender said.

She’ll meet Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhães, as well as director Edu Gaspar, in London. If Rafaelle Souza follows in the footsteps of his countrymen who have previously donned the Arsenal jersey, he will have a very good season.