Brazil vs. Chile: A Surprising Statistic or Seven

I’ve been rooting around FIFA’s Big Count, their effort at counting the number of participants in soccer worldwide, and found a number or two about Chile and Brazil that slightly surprised me ahead of today’s intriguing South American match-up.

Number of Players Per Country

Firstly, you may (or may not) not have known that Chile actually has more players as a percentage of their population than Brazil, by quite some distance: 16.17% of everyone in Chile plays soccer, according to FIFA. In Brazil, it’s only 7.02% — less, in fact, than the United States, at 8.2%. As a percentage of their population, Chile has the second highest number of players in this World Cup, behind only Germany.

Of course, Brazil has a much larger population than Chile, so in the former, there are 13,197,733 total players and in the latter, 2,608,337. In terms of total numbers of participants, Brazil ranks third in this tournament, behind Germany and the United States.

The above numbers include both registered and the rather harder to count unregistered players, and covers male and female participants.

In terms of the perhaps more relevant numbers of registered male players, Brazil again ranks third in total numbers at this World Cup, with 2,141,733, again behind Germany and the United States. Chile comes 11th out of the 32 nations who began the tournament in South Africa, with 478,337 registered male players.

Youth Players

In youth soccer, Chile are 11th at the World Cup in total male youth players, with 325,000 of them. Brazil ranks 3rd, unsurprisingly, with 1,345,000 participants at that level (behind, once again, only Germany and the United States).

Professional Players & Clubs

Brazil has the most professional players in the world, according to FIFA, with 16,200 of them — over double the country in second place, England, who have 6,000. Chile has just 637 to choose from.

Brazil ranks behind only England in their number of club teams, with 29,000. Chile again comes up surprisingly high (at least in my eyes), ranking 7th of the 2010 World Cup countries with 6,000 clubs.

Here, then, are those stats in summary:

Population FIFA Rank # of total players players as % of population # of male registered players # of male youth players # of professionals # of clubs
Brazil 182,000,000 1 13,197,733 7.02 2,141,733 1,345,000 16,200 29,000
Chile 15,600,000 18 2,608,337 16.17 478,337 325,000 637 6,000

All information from FIFA’s Big Count, last updated in 2006.

ps – Anyone enjoy these random statistics? Wouldn’t be hard to do them for each matchup from now on, from the Big Count numbers.