In the 1870s an expatriate named John Miller worked on the railway construction project in São Paulo together with some 3000 other immigrant families from the British Isles in the last decades of the 19th century. In 1884 Miller sent his ten year old son Charles William Miller to Bannisters school in Southampton, England to be educated. Charles was a skilled athlete who quickly picked up the game of football at the time when the Football Association was still being formed, and as an accomplished winger and striker Charles held school honours that gained him entry into the Southampton Club team and later into the County team of Hampshire.
In 1888, the first sports club was founded in the city, São Paulo Athletic Club.
In 1892 while still in England, Charles was invited to play a game for the Corinthians, a team formed of players invited from public schools and universities.
On his return to Brazil Charles brought some football equipment and a rules book with him. He then developed the new rules of the game amongst the community in São Paulo. São Paulo Athletic Club won the first three years championships. Miller's skills were far above his colleagues at this stage. He was given the honour of contributing his name to a move involving a deft flick of the ball with the heel "Chaleiro".
Charles Miller kept a strong bond with English football throughout his life. Teams from Southampton and Corinthians Club travelled to Brazil to play against São Paulo Athletic Club and other teams in São Paulo. After a tour of Corinthians to Brazil in 1910 a new team in Brazil took on the name of Corinthians after a suggestion from Miller.
The Brazilian Football Confederation was founded in 1914, and the current format for the Campeonato Brasileiro was established in 1971.
In 1988 São Paulo Athletic Club celebrated its centenary playing the English side Corinthians at Morumbi Stadium. English Corinthian finish its tour by going against the local professional Corinthians Paulista team, who counted the likes of Sócrates and Rivelino amongst its roster, at Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo and true to Corinthian principles of good clean football the score was 1 to 0 in favour of the locals when as agreed Socrates changed shirts to play alongside the English amateurs. This did not affect the score unfortunately although a largely packed stadium was cheering on for a drawn result.
It was announced that on September 29, 2007 that the CBF will launch a women's league and cup competition in October 2007 following pressure from FIFA president Sepp Blatter during the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
Brazilian football is known for its trickery, fast flowing, attacking style of play and considered a reflection of the country's multiracial society. Brazil's unique style is characterised by much creativity, swing and is infused with various rhythms and choreographies. The combination of those elements is called ginga.
The great foot ability could be traced to the physical coordination and rhythm associated with the capoeira and samba which are characterized by footsteps to dance or to play under the rhythm of African drums. It is believed that this unique style was developed in the low income areas largely populated by people of African descent.
Football quickly became a passion for Brazilians, who often refer to their country as "o país do futebol" ("the country of football"). Over 10,000 Brazilians play professionally all over the world.
Football has a major effect on Brazilian culture. It is the favorite pastime of youngsters playing football on streets. The World Cup draws Brazilians together, with people skipping work to view the national team play, or employers setting up apparatus for employees to watch. The general elections are usually held in the same year as the World Cup, and critics argue that political parties try to take advantage of the nationalistic surge created by football and bring it into politics. Former footballers are often elected to legislative positions.
One unique aspect of football in Brazil is the importance of the Brazilian state championships. For much of the early development of the game in Brazil, the nation's size and the lack of rapid transport made national competitions infeasible, so the competition centered on state tournaments and such inter-state competitions as the Torneio Rio-São Paulo. Even today, despite the existence of a national tournament, the state tournaments continue to be hotly contested and the intrastate rivalries remain intense.