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Football in Paraguay: Map

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Football is by far the most popular sport in Paraguaymarker to the point that it is part of the nation's culture.

History

Football was first introduced in Paraguaymarker by Dutchman William Paats, who moved from the Netherlandsmarker to Asunciónmarker (the capital of Paraguay) in 1888. During a trip to Buenos Airesmarker Paats bought a football and brought it back to Asunción in order to teach the sport, which was unknown among Paraguayans. At first, football was only practiced by the "elite" (upper class) but it soon became very popular and spread quickly throughout the whole country to people of all social classes.

In 1900, small tournaments were held at the Plaza de Armas, a plaza located in downtown Asunción. Because of the huge success of the tournaments and the large attendances for the games, Paats decided to found the first Paraguayan football club, which he named Olimpia Football Club (later renamed Club Olimpia) in 1902. By 1906 the number of football clubs in Paraguay had increased and the Paraguayan Football Association (governing body of football in Paraguay) was founded. The Paraguayan Football Association joined CONMEBOL in 1921, and FIFAmarker in 1925.

Football has grown enormously since then, and there are over 1600 teams spread throughout Paraguay participating in regional leagues. Each of those teams try to make their way to the first division by clearing the different levels of lower divisions. The growth and evolution of Paraguayan football can be seen in the achievements made in the club level and by the Paraguayan national football team. The national team has participated in seven World Cups, won two Copa América tournaments and obtained a silver medal at the Olympic Games in 2004. All these accomplishments established Paraguay as the fourth most successful football nation in South America behind Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. At the club level, Olimpia Asunción has won a total of eight international tournaments, including three Copa Libertadores and one Intercontinental Cup.

Among the most important and successful football players in Paraguayan history are Arsenio Erico, Aurelio González, Romerito and José Luis Chilavert.

League system

See main article Paraguayan football league system

References

  1. Cien Años de Historia: Sudor, Lagrimas, Sangre, y Victoria
  2. UFI Website
  3. Historia de la Albirroja


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