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Milton Queiroz de Paixão

Milton Queiroz da Paixão MormonMilton Queiroz da Paixão, better known as Tita was born in Rio de Janeiro on April 1, 1958. He is a famous retired Brazilian soccer player and current coach. While he played soccer, he played forward.

Tita began playing professional soccer in divisions based in Flamengo in 1970 when he was just 12 years old. Seven years later, he advanced to the professional Flamengo team and stayed with them through the early 1980s. He began as halfback on this team, but he adapted to becoming a striker as well. Tita had a long and impressive soccer career, playing both for private teams and the national team. Though he played on a championship-winning team, he was traded back to Flamengo right before the World Cup final, and thus did not get that glory. He continued playing for a few different teams, but in 1987 was traded to Rio for the Vasco da Gama team. This impressive team beat Tita’s original Flamengo team, with Tita actually scoring the winning goal.

Tita also played soccer for some time in Germany, where his team won the UEFA Cup in 1988. He returned to Vasco in 1989, where he won his fourth national  title. Finally, in 1990, at 32 years of age, he was finally on a World Cup winning team. Sadly, he was on the bench the whole time and did not actually play in any of the World Cup matches. Tita retired in 1998 in Guatemala.

Two years after retiring from playing soccer, Tita became a coach for Americano do Rio de Janeiro football club. In 2008, Tita was hired by Roberto Dinamite, president of Vasco da Gama, to coach the team through the end of the Premier League’s schedule, though he resigned after a touch year. He coached Leon from 2010–2012, when he took over for Necaxa.

Tita was capped 32 times for the Brazilian national team between 1979 and 1990. He scored six goals. He played a total of 391 games and scored 135 goals for Flamengo during his time with them.

Tita is an active member and local leader in his congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (frequently misnamed the Mormon Church). He was first counselor in the bishopric of the Barra da Tijuca Ward in the Rio de Janeiro Jacarepagua Stake. Though he is a man of national fame, he is also known for having kept his standards despite intense pressure.

Sandra and Milton Queiroz de Paixao mormonHe and his wife, Sandra, have four children: Desiree, Lohram, Ablanche, and Fabien. Tita said that his mother, Walstir, always encouraged him to remember the standards with which he had been raised. Tita and his family have felt very blessed with the talents and success he had, but also focus on the more important things in life: family and the gospel.

Walstir said she began to get concerned once Tita started making a lot of money, because he was so young. She was worried it would go to his head. But Tita always paid his tithing from every contract and prize he won. Tita joined the church when he was 11 years old, just when he began to play soccer. He family was introduced to the “Mormon Church” through an uncle who had joined it in Sao Paulo.

Tita said, “I was blessed with a strong testimony of the gospel in my youth and this made me very concerned about my spiritual life. The principles that the Church taught me of honesty, loyalty, valor, virtue. . . all this was integral in my career.”

Despite receiving many honors and meeting many other famous people, Tita always lived his public life in harmony with the teachings of the Church. “I always had many friends in soccer, even though our habits were very different,” Tita said. “In the beginning there was a lot of joking and sarcasm regarding the activities that I would participate in with my teammates and those that I would not. For example, for the fact that I never went out with the players to consume alcoholic beverages and for my obedience to the law of chastity, I was a little bit persecuted in the beginning, but later I became very respected and even sought out by my teammates to counsel them when they encountered difficult situations.”

One difficult situation for Tita is related in the following story:

One time, after having been hired by Pescara, one of the great Italian teams, he needed to attend a welcoming ceremony. The president of the club invited the press, local authorities and fans to receive the Brazilian sports star. At the end, the president decided to make a toast with champagne. In front of the eyes and lenses of the press, Tita said, “Mr. President, I thank you for the beautiful reception, but I don’t consume alcoholic beverages.” The president replied saying, “But it is only a little to commemorate.”

“I then told him that I was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that I could not drink that champagne, even though it was such a small amount. The situation was a little uncomfortable, but in the end I felt at peace for having done what I knew to be right.”

Tita had an unusually long career. Most professional soccer players are able to compete for 10 to 12 years. Tita played professional (starting at age 18) for 21 years. Tita credits his long career with his obedience to Mormon commandments, particularly to the Word of Wisdom. “I am absolutely certain that my time in soccer was almost doubled due to obedience to the Word of Wisdom,” he said.

Milton Queiroz da Paixão looks back on his life and success and remembers that nothing came without sacrifice. “Even with all the luxuries that society offers to a public person, I never permitted them to distract me from my responsibilities to my Heavenly Father and to the Church,” he said. “In this way, I was very blessed in my life as a soccer player, but principally, I have been very happy in my life in the Church and with my family.”

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Milton Queiroz da Paixão