World Cup supporter stories: Deborah


During the World Cup, as well as focusing on the stories of our players representing their countries, we are also shining a light on those Gooners around the globe cheering on their nations.

Here, Deborah discusses how her love of football grew back in her native Brazil, which eventually led her to Arsenal, and ultimately football changing the course of her life forever:

I've always been very proud of being Brazilian, and football has been a big part of it, pretty much ever since I was born. Football is almost like a religion for us growing up. I always say my home country is Brazil, even though I've been in the UK for almost 10 years now, as I still have family over there. But now I have family here, too - a husband and a daughter who has both nationalities. What we’re trying to do with her is that she learns to be proud of having two cultures, and values that she's half British and half Brazilian.

Arsenal brought me and my husband Tim together. He always wrote articles about us and I commented on one and we started talking. I was in Brazil and he was in the UK so I was like, "well nothing is gonna happen between us." Then I went to study in Portugal for a few months and came to London, and he took me to my first Arsenal match. It was a terrible 3-2 defeat at Swansea, on a very cold January night. I had a terrible record of something like 10 defeats in a row for every away match that I went to! 

I haven’t been as often since Eva was born, but I am always watching. We are always telling her about Arsenal. She has been to her first match - literally, the first shirt she wore when she was born was an Arsenal shirt. She was born the day after we won the FA Cup against Chelsea in 2020; I was literally in the hospital having contractions and watching the game on an iPad! We won, and she was born a few hours later on the day after.


My first memory of the World Cup was 1994. I was only four years old, but I have very vague memories of the winning day and everybody together in the living room watching it. My first big memory was 2002, when I was 12. That was such a special World Cup, because, being in Japan and South Korea, it meant that some of the games were during the middle of the night. When we played England, it was like 3:30am and we had a big party in the street. Someone brought a screen and all the neighbours watched together.

Even though my dad and my brothers are huge into football, my mum never really cared much. However I would get really upset and cry whenever Brazil lost at the World Cup, and she would always be the one comforting me afterwards. This is the first World Cup where I don't have my mum anymore, so if Brazil loses, who’s really going to comfort me afterwards? I did say to Tim, Eva can support England at the Euros but, at World Cups, she has to support Brazil. That’s how it’s going to be in this household!

I’m sad not to be in Brazil right now because I would always watch the World Cup with my dad and my brother. It’s sad not to have all that family and that community feeling anymore. I do try to go to Brazilian bars but now being a mum, I don’t have as much free time as much as I would like. But at least I get to build these new traditions with Eva instead, and she can learn all of that with me.

We’ve built a lot of friends here, and now it’s even more special with the amount of Brazilian players that Arsenal have, which makes me very proud. Especially as they're so good! I love all of them, and this past season has been really nice, building an even stronger relationship between my country and Arsenal.

It’s very random how I came to support Arsenal. It was back in 2009, and some of my closest friends started watching the Premier League, and they were like: "pick a team". At Euro 2008, I fell in love with Andrey Arshavin, and I wanted to watch whatever team he was on. Luckily he signed for Arsenal - he nearly almost signed for Tottenham, and that would have been a very different story for me!

After that, my fandom took on a life of its own. I never expected it would literally change my life. Because of Arsenal, I met my husband, and then I had my daughter - all because of a very random Andrey Arshavin signing back in 2009.

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