Jeff Hand Leaves Brazil’s Rio Branco to Coach University of Wisconsin-Platteville

After pulling out of the Brazil’s São Paulo Cup (Paulista Championship) in the middle of the 2015 season and ending their partnership with the State Government of Espírito Santo, Rio Branco FA suffered a loss on their staff, as American coach Jeff Hand announced his departure from the club.

On June 5th, Hand will return to United States to assume the position of assistant coach in the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers, which plays in NCAA Division III. The American explains the reason that led him to return to his origins.

Brazil - Jeff Hand3

Jeff Hand in Brazil

“I am returning to the United States to continue working with football. In February, one of my best friends lost his assistant coach and asked if I could fill the position. At the time, I told him that I had just come to Brazil and it would be good for me this time coaching the Rio Branco FA. But I promised to return in June.”

Even with the departure in the middle of the season, before starting play in the Torneio Touchdown, coach Jeff Hand believes that left a great legacy to the team’s players and coaches.

“Many of the players on Rio Branco had made great advances. Especially the younger ones who have shown a commitment to the team and learning. They mainly evolved in their footwork, physical fitness and knowledge of the game. The coaches also grew.”

Now, Rio Branco is racing to find a new head coach to lead the team. According to the president, Vivian Pontes, they will be announcing the name of the new head coach in the next few days.

2015 Torneio Touchdown Season

Rio Branco plays in Group A along with arch rival Vila Velha Tritões, Minas Locomotiva and Botafogo Reptiles. In the first stage, each team plays seven matches. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals.

Rio Branco’s Schedule

July 25th – @ Flamengo (in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro)
August 18th – @ Santos Tsunami (in Santos, São Paulo)
September 5th – v. Minas Locomotiva (in Serra, Espírito Santo)
September 19th – @ Tubarões do Cerrado (in Brasília, Distrito Federal)
October 3rd – v. Botafogo Reptiles (in Serra, Espírito Santo)
October 31st – v. Vila Velha Tritões (in Serra, Espírito Santo)
November 14th – v. UFPR Brown Spiders (in Serra, Espírito Santo)

Henrique Riffel
Journalist at Futebol Americano Brasil and American Football International. Post graduated in Digital Journalism at Famecos/PUCRS. Former multimedia producer of Locast Project MIT/USA. Former player of Porto Alegre Pumpkins.
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