From São Paulo to Charlotte: João Pedro's Ascent to Charlotte FC


João Pedro's journey to the Queen City is marked by dreams fulfilled, challenges conquered, and gratitude for the support he's received. Charlotte FC recently elevated the São Paulo native from the second team, Crown Legacy FC, to the first team as the Club heads into their third season.

I chatted with João Pedro – who goes by JP – in his native language of Portuguese to see how he’s been getting on in Charlotte and his thoughts on his first team promotion. All of his thoughts are translated into English.

João Pedro is coming off his personal best season which included some brilliant individual performances that earned him a spot in MLS Next Pro’s Best XI of the season. He was a critical component in what was a historic inaugural season for Legacy as they secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference with JP playing over 2,000 minutes and contributing two goals and three assists from the center back position to showcase his versatility.


With a renewed sense of self and rediscovered soccer prowess, João Pedro is eager to make an impact with the first team in the upcoming season. 

"Like any athlete, you want to play at the highest levels, so I’m super happy to be able to play with the first team this upcoming year. I hope to show my qualities for all the fans and all the staff that helped me develop up to this point. I hope to play some good games, make an impact for the first team, and the rest, only God knows.”

For João Pedro, his move to Charlotte a year ago represented the realization of a lifelong dream to play outside his native Brazil.

"It was always a dream of mine to play outside of my country,” he said. “When I heard about the opportunity to play in Charlotte, it aligned with a lot of what my family and I were looking for. I really liked the pitch of the Club, and I didn’t think there was a better fit for me this past year.”

Adjusting to a new culture and country may present challenges, but João Pedro approached these hurdles with a positive perspective. Reflecting on his initial days at the Club, he not only managed to overcome the difficulties he faced, but he did so with commendable swiftness.

"It was hard at the start for me to adapt. New culture, new country, new language but thankfully I didn’t take too long to adapt. The Club was a big help by providing English classes and helping in other ways so that helped facilitate the work I had to at the Club. So, it was a quick adaptation.”

Integral to João Pedro's successful integration into Charlotte FC was the support of the coaching staff. Arriving in the United States without knowing a word of English, he benefited from the presence of a Portuguese head coach, Jose Tavares, and other staff members who were fluent in his native language.

"The coaching staff was so important for my adaptation. Everyone was really helpful not just for me but also for the culture of the team. They helped me rediscover my soccer. I feel nothing but gratitude to coach (Jose Tavares) and the rest of the technical staff for everything they did for me. They put the person in front of the athlete, so they kept the team unified, and that's why our team was so successful.”


The experience in the United States brought about significant personal and professional growth for João Pedro. In addition to a new country and language, the move brought the challenge of adapting to a different style of training and play.

“The most significant lesson for me was my maturity as both a player and a person. I think here in the United States you have to work incredibly hard every day. There’s a different way of working here in the States compared to Brazil. It’s more rigid, they like it to be much more intense, so I had to adjust to that. Through this experience, I’ve become a better person and more mature. I went from a boy to a man.”

In his journey of gratitude, João Pedro wanted to emphasize again the crucial role played by the coaching staff at Crown Legacy. 

“I first want to thank the coach and everyone else on Crown Legacy’s staff because I think without them none of this would have happened. They gave me all the support and guidance. They pushed me when they needed to push me, and I think it’s because of that that I was able to play my best football in later parts of the year. I just want to thank all of them for trusting me, and I’m so grateful.”

João Pedro's ascent from Crown Legacy to Charlotte FC is not just a testament to his talent but also to the supportive environment fostered by the club, and the clear path foreign players have to the first team. As he prepares to don the first-team jersey, fans can anticipate witnessing the continued growth and success of this Brazilian defender in the Queen City.