July 28, 2011
For Immediate Release
|Campbellsville University head coach Perry Thomas shows off a Vila Velho Tritons jersey. (Photo by Guido Nunes/Globe Esporte)|
By Chris Megginson, sports information director
VILA VELHA, Brazil — Coaching a football clinic in July is nothing new for Campbellsville University head coach Perry Thomas or assistant Ricky Gehres, however coaching on a Brazilian beach – now there’s an experience.
The two Tiger coaches traveled to the beach of Itaparica in Vila Velha, Brazil last week to lead a clinic for a start-up Brazilian professional football team, the Vila Velha Tritons.
“I’m loving Brazil,” Thomas told sports reporter Guido Nunes of Globo Esporte. “I had no idea that football was played here … I am very excited to see the organization of football in a country that has so much tradition.”
Before leaving for the trip July 20, Thomas said he and Gehres were excited to experience a new country and help the sport of football grow. Tritons head coach/quarterback Bruno Araujo was equally excited.
“It’s the beginning of a new era,” Araujo told Golobo Esportes. “I remember when we played in the sand and had the dream of playing football. Today, we see two American coaches come here and help show us that the work being done is very rewarding.”
The Tritons began playing football in 2004, but did not hold their first full-pad work out until 2010, according ot the team’s Web site. After winning the league championship last season, the Tritons are currently making a run for a repeat. Thomas’ message to the Tritons was the same message he has for the 2011 Tigers – discipline is key.
|Campbellsville University assistant coach Rick Gehres, left, and head coach Perry Thomas, center, pose for a photo with members of the Vila Velha Tritons. (Photo by Guido Nunes)
“The thing we wanted to do is let them know that organization and discipline are the most important parts of building a team, and that while they are doing things right here, there are fundamental things they can continue to work on to continue to make this program grow,” Thomas told a group of reporters. “Fortunately, we’re going to be able to work with them on the field some also … I think they can learn from what we bring from our U.S. experience, where football has a long tradition.”
During the media visit to the Tritons’ camp, Thomas had the opportunity to try on a team jersey. After letting a roar for the cameras, he proclaimed, “I look good in that jersey. I may have to wear this home.”
After working on skills and fundamentals with the Tritons through the weekend, Thomas and Gehres returned to the U.S. earlier this week. Gehres, a former CU and European pro player, provided training for skill positions, while Thomas worked with linemen and overall defense.
“I think it’s great. I think football here in Brazil is getting bigger and bigger,” Gehres told another media outlet. “The guys are great and have been working together for several years. I’m very happy to be here working with these guys.”
Thomas hopes he can return to Brazil in the future to continue the work from the short visit.
“I’d like to come back every year, not only to work with these guys but to do a workshop with some of the young guys and help the sport take off,” Thomas said.
The Tritons’ next game is August 6 on the road against the Trimbo Rhinos.
Campbellsville University football players will begin to return to campus Aug. 12 for the 2011 season, which begins Sept. 1 at CU’s Finley Stadium (204 Tiger Way, Campbellsville, KY) against Union College. Kickoff is 7 p.m. ET.
Guido Nunes of Globo Esporte and TV Tribuna contributed to this story.