MESTRE ANTONIO "ZEGO" AZEVEDO
Founder and Board Chair, American Futsal Foundation
'It is impossible to summarize the greatness of the Brazilian coach in an article or to synthesize his career in an interview. Zego's life is a compendium of stories that enhance the figure of a capital character in the history of Futsal.
Hundreds of anecdotes and thousands of invisible threads that link his name to that of key characters in the development of this sport. A pioneering coach whose ideas had a tremendous impact. A technician who has left a deep mark.'
Zego is a coach who you are likely to know very little about, and you may not even know his name. However, he has influenced futsal more than any other person in the history of the sport.
"My first coach taught me something - he taught me to bring hope to children. I carry this with me always!"
In a time when the pursuit of fame and fortune seem more prevalent than ever, the spotlight and the rewards that come with it have been turned down to follow a passion for teaching the game.
“When I start working on movement in 4-0, I don’t tell anyone where they must run. They must see the opponent and then think. When we allow people to think, we give them the freedom to create."
Zego is a great example of this transfer of knowledge and his legacy can be seen in today’s top coaches such as Jesus Velasco of Inter Movistar.
“The arrival of Zego has been, or is going to be, a revolution. I say it is going to be because as soon as his methods are familiar, it will bring many systems"
The legend of an indomitable coach who gave up training among the elite, to do what he liked the most: Train children and make them better.
"I have to be on the field. Feel the people. I like to ensure that the children grow up happy and that they are in a family environment."
Training children is a career that Zego loves, the coach said, adding that he has worked as a sports instructor for both adult and junior teams in about 20 different countries.
"Among his accomplishments, Zego spent eight years in Spain training the country’s two major futsal clubs, which have each won national and European championships several times."
Việt Nam national team and Thái Sơn Nam’s manager Phạm Minh Giang has taken a giant step towards joining the Việt Nam futsal hall of fame after being nominated as one of the 10 best futsal coaches in the world.
"I learned patience from Antonio Jose Azevedo “Zego”, who has more than 44 years in youth football training. He told me to always be patient and never give up."
"Zego was a very important coach for me also because Jesus Velasco was coming from Zego School and he likes and knows exactly how to play 4.0.
Zego has been very important in my life. I aspire to be a coach one day in the future. I would love to be like Zego - a coach who develops and prepares young players to enjoy at a high level."
FIFA Women Futsal National League in Brazil coached by Zego.
"Definitely Zego has done a great work developing women futsal in Criciuma University Catarinense. Starting from "Ground Zero" Zego built one of the strongest teams in Brazilian women futsal."
Mestre Zego has dedicated his life to Futsal and to following his belief that developing youth players in true grassroots environments is the key to long-term, macro success.
These grassroots programs must be built by artisan coaches who teach young players, their families, and 'village coaches' to create environments that support both growth and enjoyment.
Replication of this process will have a long-term impact on a country's overall youth athletic landscape, which will ultimately lead to a strong, national program able to compete on the world stage.