In a country where for every ten boys, eleven wish to become a professional soccer player, Paulo Henrique Barreto was fortunate to be one of them.
Born in Florianopolis, Santa Catarina State, Brazil, soccer defined Paulo’s identity since he was a young child. He dribbled rocks on the way to school. Immersed himself in every pickup game. Played on just about any surface−field, street, beach. Made his own field when there wasn’t one. Juggled his way to a state record (9,472 touches in under 3 hours) at age 11 and was virtually inseparable from a soccer ball. Paulo showed such immense appetite and ability early on that he was recruited by a soccer boarding school at age 13 to formally develop and refine his skills. In Brazil, where soccer is a religion, young Paulo was hooked.
His mother in tears, his father rejoicing, Paulo moved three hours from home to join Criciuma Esporte Clube, a professional soccer club that cultivates youth. With an initial foothold into the soccer world, Paulo’s potential propelled him to Joinville Esporte Clube, the next major milestone in his rapidly forming career.
While playing for Joinville, Paulo was an integral part of the team that won the Under 17 National Brazilian Championship. After five years and another defining shift, Paulo stepped out onto the soccer field, this time in black and white, to play for the most affluent club in the State − Figueirense Futebol Clube. He worked intensely for two more years before finally realizing his dream of becoming a Jogador de Futebol Profissional (Professional Soccer Player) at age 19.
Now established in the sport, Paulo continued to push the boundaries. He played for several professional Brazilian teams in Santa Catarina, and then abroad for two years in Europe, with Louletano Desportos Clube in the south of Portugal. His curious mind and desire to experience different cultures eventually led him to America where he played eight months with the El Paso Patriots in Texas. In total, Paulo played professionally for six years around the globe.
Paulo’s main drawing card to America was a position at the Brazilian Soccer Academy in Raleigh, NC, where he transitioned from player to teacher. He further embraced this new path by founding his own school − Paulo’s Brazilian Soccer Academy − in Cincinnati, OH in 1998. Paulo trained many local teams on what it meant to play “Brazilian style” and had the unique advantage of being able to demonstrate, not simply tell a player what to do. His developmental methods were quickly recognized by the soccer community and the community-at-large, having been featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the New York Times and newspapers abroad.
In 2002, Paulo joined Warren County Soccer Academy in Warren County, Ohio. Over the last 18 years, he shared his knowledge and expertise in multiple roles including Trainer, Coach, Director of Training for the Girls Program, Girls Director of Coaching, Club Senior Director, Youth Director and Club Technical Director. Paulo's period with Warren County Soccer Academy ended in May of 2020. After that Paulo transitioned to Mercury Soccer and is currently the Technical Director.
Parallel to that, Paulo still runs his soccer academy, offering customized soccer camps and clinics throughout the country. His trademark, however, has become escorting his students and families to Florianopolis, Brazil. Paulo’s unique trip offers a taste of his world while the young soccer player benefits from his expertise in the land of soccer. Since 2000, Paulo has taken over 900 people to Florianopolis for this authentic experience.
Former Brazilian professional soccer player
Diploma de Futebol - Parte tecnica e Tactica (Nivel 1-A) Associacao Brasileira de Futebol deSanta Catarina. Brasil-
USSF A License - United States Soccer Federation
Member of ODP - Olympic Development Program
Member of NSCAA - National Soccer Coaches Association of America
OSYSA - Ohio South Youth Soccer Association-
Girls Competitive Coach of the Year - 2018
Dual citizenship (Brazilian and American)
Trilingual (English, Portuguese, Spanish)