Phenom, 9, draws interest

Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 12:36 a.m.
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Brazilian soccer player Jean Carlos Chera, 9, has drawn interest from clubs such as Manchester United.

The Associated Press
SAO PAULO, Brazil - At this rate, sonograms will soon become a soccer recruiting tool.
Jean Carlos Chera, a 9-year-old who is 4-foot-6, is attracting interest from Manchester United and other top European teams. Chera, who weighs 77 pounds, currently plays for the youth teams of Associacao Desportiva Atletica, a small club in the southern Brazilian state of Parana.
''Seven or eight European clubs have already contacted us to know more about Jean,'' team president Adilson Batista Prado said in a telephone interview Thursday. ''They want to know what he is all about, and I tell them he's a phenomenon, probably the best player to come out of Brazil.''
Prado and team officials would not identify all the clubs interested in Jean, but confirmed that representatives of Manchester United have asked for videotapes of his matches.
Prado said teams from Portugal, France and Germany have made contact, and local media identified FC Porto as one of the teams.
The club said the European clubs haven't made official offers yet, but some have asked for permission to send representatives, and others have invited the midfielder and his family to go to Europe.
''He still needs to be a kid,'' said Prado, who does not allow Jean to talk to reporters.

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