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Off The Beaten Path: Estoril Praia & Iuri Tavares

By Brian Maurer

Photo courtesy of Estoril Praia

Crown Legacy FC have acquired several international players who are from less familiar clubs. Serbia, Brazil, and Portugal are all countries that Crown Legacy FC have utilized to build their roster. The clubs they are finding these players are not Benfica or Flamengo. Instead they are recruiting under-the-radar prospects from clubs like E.C. Água Santa and Lemense.

Crown Legacy FC recently signed forward Iuri Tavares from Estoril Praia. In this article I take a quick look at the history of Estoril and their club and how Tavares’ experience there could help Crown Legacy FC as they build towards their inaugural season.


Estoril is a beautiful small coastal town west of Lisbon. It is also rumored that the Casino Estoril is an inspiration for the James Bond film Casino Royale. It is known as a luxury vacation spot along the so-called Portuguese Riviera. Lyrics from the song Nights In Estoril by Fleetwood Mac provide a description of nostalgic lovers remembering time spent vacationing together in Estoril:

“I remember the nights in Estoril

A kiss and, oh, the never ending thrill

And I remember the coming storm

Oh, and you my love, how you kept me warm”

Besides luxury vacationing, Estoril is also home to the soccer club Grupo Desportivo Estoril Praia.

GD Estoril Praia

Estoril Praia was founded in 1939, since the club’s inception they have made 28 different appearances in the Portuguese first division. Estoril Praia’s highest finish was fourth, which they have done twice. The last time they accomplished this was when Estoril icon, Marco Silva, was their manager in the 2013/14 season. Silva spent time both as a player and a manager for Estoril, and he is now at the helm for Fulham who currently sit seventh in the Premier League.

Marco Silva (photo courtesy of Fulham FC)

Today, Estoril Praia is run by CEO Guilherme Müller and Sporting Director Pedro Alves. They are both under 40, which is quite young for these sporting positions, and their team building philosophy matches their youthfulness.

Estoril Praia is built with a foundation of players who are under 25. The club is focused on recruiting young talent that they can develop by offering them first team minutes. In fact, Estoril has the second youngest team among the top European leagues, behind only Valencia CF. The first team minutes that are provided to young players creates a showcase for the bigger clubs, who then put in transfer bids for the young talent on the field. This past summer, Estoril made two domestic sales (André Franco and Arthur Gomes) giving them the second highest income from domestic transfers this past year.

This youthful philosophy comes with risk as the club has lots of highs and lows due to the lack of stability that experience often provides. However, with the highs and lows also comes an attractive and aggressive style of play. This style of play pushed them to finish ninth in the table for the 2021/22 season, but this year they have dropped down to 14th. Estoril’s first division performances harken to the lyrics by Fleetwood Mac: “never ending thrill” and “remember the coming storm”.

Estoril Icons

Estoril Praia has had many big names spend time developing in their academy, development teams, and first team. Goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, spent a season playing in Estoril’s academy while his father played for Sporting Lisbon. Fullback, Paulo Ferreira, rose through the youth ranks at Estoril before going on to FC Porto and Chelsea, as well as making many caps for the Portuguese national team.

Fernando Santos (photo courtesy of ESPN)

Former Portuguese national team manager, Fernando Santos, spent most of his playing career at Estoril. Which is also where his coaching career began. Silva, who I mentioned earlier, spent nearly a decade with Estoril. The Portuguese club’s history includes important figures in modern football. With several recent players using Estoril as a place to jumpstart their careers towards other large clubs, it looks like they will continue to play a valuable role in the development of both Portuguese and International talent.

Iuri Tavares

Tavares was born in Lisbon. However, he represents the Cape Verdean national team. This connection between players in Portugal and Cape Verde is not uncommon as there are others who played, or were born, in one country but represent the other. Sporting forward, Jovane Cabral, has spent much of his club career in Portugal, while representing Cape Verde’s national team.

Current Estoril forward, Gilson Tavares, was also born in Cape Verde, but has spent much of his club career developing in Portugal. Nani and Gelson Martins are both of Cape Verdean descent but represent the Portuguese national team.

Iuri Tavares (photo courtesy of Estoril Praia)

Tavares graduated from the Benfica academy, but never made it to their first team. After earning his first senior team appearance with Vitória SC in the 21/22 season, he signed with Estoril Praia. Before signing with Crown Legacy FC this winter he spent this past year playing for the Estoril U23s. The Estoril U23 team has recently exemplified the goals that the club has of developing young players while also getting positive results on the field. The Estoril U23 team has won back-to-back League and Cup championships.

Tavares has spent time developing at the academy of one of the Portuguese giants, Benfica. After which he wound up at the Estoril Praia U23 team, where they have recently been the best development team in all of Portugal.

Tavares will be bringing his experience from high-level developmental programs in Portugal to Crown Legacy FC, who have the intent of building their own developmental program that establishes the expectation of providing young players the opportunity to get professional minutes while also finding results. Both of these goals at Crown Legacy FC were the recent standards at Tavares’ previous club, Estoril Praia.