PITTSBORO — One month after earning her first invite to a Brazilian women’s national team camp, Seaforth rising sophomore Sofia Viana is set to train with the U-17 team again next month.
Viana was one of 26 players called up by Brazil U-17 coach Simone Jatobá to head to the Granja Comary — the national team’s main training center — in Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro from Aug. 1-11. The team is training in preparation for the 2024 South American U-17 Women’s Championships. Brazil won the 2022 version of the tournament and has claimed four of the seven championships since the tournament’s inception in 2008.
Whoever wins the 2024 South American U-17 Women’s Championships will earn a bid to the 2024 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in the Dominican Republic next November.
Viana was born in Miami and was raised in the United States, but she holds dual nationality with Brazil. She had participated in a few Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) talent ID camps in Florida in the past, but she hadn’t competed in the national team system.
The rising sophomore plays club soccer for the North Carolina F.C. 2008 ECNL G team, which competes in the Elite Clubs National League. On top of her responsibilities to her high school team, she also trains four nights a week with her club team.
Viana is one of only two players selected by Brazil’s U-17 team that plays for a club team in the United States, along with Florida United’s JuJu Harris. Many of the other selections play their soccer for clubs in Brazil and other international countries.
This past spring, Viana led the Seaforth girls’ soccer team in both goals (33) and assists (25) from her forward position as just a freshman. She helped the Hawks amass a 17-6-1 overall record and reach the third round of the 2A state playoffs before falling to Raleigh Charter. Seaforth is coached by Viana’s dad, Giovanni Viana.
A tenacious attacking player with a knack for finding the back of the net, Viana has modeled her game after Brazilian legend Debinha, who plays for the Kansas City Current of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and is currently playing for Brazil in the Women’s World Cup this summer.
Viana said she saw Debinha play pretty regularly when she was with the N.C. Courage from 2017-22. She even made a habit of speaking with her after the games, and at one point she exchanged phone numbers with the two-time NWSL champion.
Like Debinha and other Brazilian legends like Marta and Formiga, Viana will be referred to by just one name — Sofia — going forward as she continues to compete with Seleção. Playing under a mononym, like Pele, Neymar or Ronaldo, is a common practice among Brazilian soccer players and is considered part of the country’s unique soccer culture.