The “Michael Jackson”: First steps on the pitch

Part 1: First steps on the pitch during the banning of women’s football and the beginning of her career.

By The Football Museum

Marileia in her childhood. Valença, Rio de Janeiro. (The 60's) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Early life

Marileia dos Santos, the youngest daughter of Antonio and Rita dos Santos, was born in the countryside region of Rio de Janeiro, in Valença, on November 19th 1963.

Mariléria dos Santos with her nephew in her homeland Valença, Rio de Janeiro. (1980) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Marileia with her friends and family. (The 70's) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Leia, as she was first nicknamed, used to play football with her brothers and sisters growing up. Coming from a large family of 11 siblings, playing football was a family activity. Like her parents, her grandparents also raised several children.

Marileia dos Santos on the pitch of Santa Inácia F.C. in Valença, Rio de Janeiro., Archive Michel Jackson, The 70's, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Marileia dos Santos holding a trophy conquered, Archive Michel Jackson, 1878, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Marileia in her family's home, Archive Michel Jackson, 1980, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Marileia dos Santos holding Santa Inácia F.C.'s flag. Valença, Rio de Janeiro. (1979) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

The wattle and daub house the family lived in was small and couldn't hold all the children playing inside, so during the 1970s they all went to Santa Inacia's pitches to play football. Lot's of barbeque, supporting and football!

Marileia with her family and teamates from Santa Inácia F.C. in Valença, Rio de Janeiro. (1979) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Marileia playing for Monte D'Ouro F.C. from her homeland Valença, Rio de Janeiro (1985) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Already used to the fooball fields, Marileia started playing for Santa Inacia's team. Football was still forbidden for women, but the law was ignored by the community. Initially, it was a mixed team, later on they brought together an all female team to play on the neighborhood.

Marileia and the Monte D'Ouro F.C. squad, in her homeland Valença, Rio de Janeiro. (1985) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Marileia dos Santos playing for "Flamenguinho de Valença", Rio de Janeiro. (1978) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

In the late 1970s, Leia played for teams such as Flamenguinho de Valença, Monte D'Ouro FC and Clube dos Coroados, all of them in her hometown.

Marileia dos Santos playing for "Flamenguinho de Valença", Rio de Janeiro. (1978) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Marileia's mom, Rita, is the first in the left in the back row. (1982) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

In 1981, during Nossa Senhora da Gloria holliday, there was an unofficial game between Coroados and the female team of Bangu Atletico Clube. That was when the president of Bangu team, Castor de Andrade, invited Leia to play in the state's capital, Rio de Janeiro. Another invitation came the following year, during the same holliday. This time, Esporte Clube Radar, invited the 19 year old player to play for them.

Article for Mulher de Hoje magazine. (The 80's) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

This time, Marileia accepted Eurico Lyra Filho's invitation to play for Radar. After the first weeks of training and trials in the famous neighborhood of Copacabana, her destiny as a player started to change.

Article for Veja magazine. (1984-03-21) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Radar was a very well known beach team in Rio. They formed a female team in the early 80s that became the biggest comeback for female football after the prohibition was revoked. Marileia debuted on the team scoring 5 goals. In 1983, she shared the field with athletes such as Pelezinha, Mag, Aninha and Elzinha. "You look like Michael Jackson!"

Marileia during her first years in Rio's team Radar F.C., Archive Michel Jackson, The 80's, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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The young black woman, with short curly hair was soon compared to the pop singer. He had just released the album Thriller, which two years later topped the bestseller lists. The broadcaster Luciano do Vale asked Marileia if he could nickname her after the singer on his TV broadcasts. The nickname stuck.

Article for Placar Magazine., Archive Michel Jackson, 1996-07, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Article for the Jornal do Brasil Magazine., Archive Jornal do Brasil, 1989, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Jersey that Marileia wore when she played for Radar F.C., Archive Michel Jackson, The 80's, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Women's soccer was officially regulated in 1983. Broadcasters such as Bandeirantes and Manchete broadcast Radar's matches. Luciano encouraged the spectators to guess Michael Jackson's real name as she became famous for her goals and for her nickname.

Jersey that Marileia wore when she played for Radar F.C., Archive Michel Jackson, The 80's, From the collection of: The Football Museum
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Radar F.C. squad in the Football Championship of Rio de Janeiro against Vasco da Gama in the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, 1987. (1987) by Archive Michel JacksonThe Football Museum

Michael shone during Rio's State Championship and the first Brasil cup of Women's football went to Radar FC, after defeating Goias FC 5-0. They won again in Rio and conquered the bichampionship of Guanabara Cup.
Even though these championships existed, there was no professionalization. Athletes like Michael, playing for famous teams in Rio, would get paid C$60.000; the equivalent of US$ 5,61.

Continue
Part 2: The regulation of women's football after its legalization.
Part 3: Reference in the Brazilian National Women's Team and in Torino.

The end of her career and the legacy to the next generations.
Credits: Story

SAO PAULO STATE GOVERNMENT
Governor | João Doria
Secretary of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo
Secretary | Sérgio Sá Leitão
Assistant Secretary | Claudia Pedrozo
Coordinator of the Museum Heritage Preservation Unit | Antonio Lessa

FOOTBALL MUSEUM
Culture, Education and Sport - social organization of culture
Administrative Council
President | Carlos Antonio Luque
Vice President | Clara of Asunción Azevedo
Executive Director | Eric Klug
Administrative and Financial Director | Victoria Boldrin
Director of Content | Daniela Alfonsi

IMPEDIMENTO MUSEUM
Google Initiative and Museum of Football
Curator Daniela Alfonsi and Camila Aderaldo - Football Museum
Research Assistant Ligia Dona - Football Museum

Virtual exhibition Michael Jackson
Research Aira Bonfim and Cassimano
Text Aira Bonfim and Daniela Alfonsi

Virtual exhibition Lea Campos
Research Aira Bonfim and Cassimano
Text Aira Bonfim and Daniela Alfonsi

Virtual Exhibition Museum of Impediment
Research Aira Bonfim, Ligia Dona and Camila Aderaldo
Text Aira Bonfim and Daniela Alfonsi

Sources:

ICASSATTI, Miguel. Um sábado no paraíso do swing e outras reportagens sobre sexo. Ed. Panda Books: São Paulo, 2006.

Goellner, S. V., Santos, M. D., Joras, P. S., & Ramos, S. D. S. (2014). Testimonials from Marileia dos Santos [Michael Jackson].

Goellner, S. V., Belo, R. D., Castro, L., & Lima, E. D. (2015). Testimonials from Roseli de Belo.

ALMEIDA, Caroline Soares de et al. Boas de bola: Um estudo sobre o ser jogadora de futebol no Esporte Clube Radar durante a década de 1980. 2013.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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