Chapecoense Makes Emotional Return to Competition
Everyone loves a good comeback story. For Chapecoense, a Brazilian top-flight soccer club, that comeback story started Saturday.
You may remember hearing about a tragic plane crash in Columbia on Nov. 28, 2016. That plane crash killed 71 people, including 19 Chapecoense players and one Chapecoense coach.
Three players survived the crash and are still with Chapecoense, recovering from the tragedy they experienced firsthand.
The healing process will never end for the families, executives and fanbase tied to Chapecoense and that fateful November day. But Saturday proved that the organization is strong and will go on.
Chapecoense returned to action on Saturday for the first time since its tragic plane crash. Playing in a friendly against the reigning 2016 Serie A champions, Palmeiras, the Big Green took their most difficult step towards achieving normality.
With essentially a brand new team, Chapecoense accepted its Copa Sudamericana trophy and lined up to start the match.
While the match ended in a 2-2 draw, it was Chapecoense's shining moment in the 14th minute that brought a team, stadium, fanbase and nation to tears.
With the crash survivors in attendance, Chapecoense scored its first goal in its first match since Nov. 28.
I can't imagine the difficulty of keeping emotions in check leading up to this match, let alone after that first goal. Seeing the ball roll into the back of the net was exactly what Chapecoense and the families of the fallen players needed.
History adopted Chapecoense as a team of the people, and now the world does the same.