Almost the entire soccer team Chapecoense was killed after their plane crashed on their way to Medellin, Colombia. A total of 77 people died including journalists and team crew members. Six people have survived, 3 players, 2 crew members and a journalists. The world of soccer is mourning.Understanding the degree of the tragedy of this event requires understanding what Chapecoense represented. They are a success story of the underdog that defies all odds. Chapecoense is a small team from an even smaller brazilian town, Chapeco. In 2009, they were playing in fourth division. Climbing 3 leagues up in Brazil, where you can find a great football player under every rock, is nothing short of a colossal task. The team involved local business to get financial support. They were praised by their transparent management. By 2014, they debuted on first division. The country was shocked when that same year they made it to the quarter final of Copa Sudamericana, a tournament that brings the best performing teams from all the leagues in South America. Two years later, they had arrived to the final of the same cup by knocking off iconic teams from Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. Chapecoense embodied the romantic vision of football is in Latin America: profound passion for the ‘beautiful game’, courage to overcome and the attitude of daring to dream big. They are a testimony to the ideal that in the field, it’s about what you do, not where you come from.
Chapeco is mourning this tragedy with the same intensity that they were celebrating the upcoming final. Strangely enough, it is not the first time an accident like this one occurs. In 1987, every member of Alianza Lima, an iconic Peruvian team, was killed in a plane crash on their way to a league game. Now, almost 30 years later, they thrive as one of the best teams around. My thoughts and prayers go to all the families in pain. Let us all dedicate a thought in their behalf and remember they taught us that there is no such thing as the impossible.