Some local teams
Spectator sports is also important for some (including me)
União Desportiva de Leiria
U.D. Leiria is definitely the most well-known local team in the city of Leiria.
In terms of history you have to mention one name: José Mourinho. Yes, the Special One or the Happy One. Mr. Mourinho started his managerial career in Benfica in 2000 and after a short spell there he moved to Leiria for one season: 2001-2002. The rest is history. My interest on the local football team is because of its history: the season with José and the short run in UEFA Cup (now known as the UEFA Europa league).
After that: financial trouble and a drop from top to bottom. Leiria’s local team currently plays in the third tier of Portuguese football and the home games are now played in nearby city called Marinha Grande.
Maybe there is a future where the team is back in the highest tier and the games are played in Estadio Dr Magalhães Pessoa again. That is what every footballing romantic always hopes and so do I. It’s a shame that a great stadium like that is almost in no use in terms of football…
Juventude Desportivo do Lis
Football is the number one sport in Portugal and generally I would think that for most U.D. Leiria is the best known sports team in the city. At the moment possibly the most successful team in Leiria is the ladies´ handball team. The team is called Juventude Desportivo do Lis and it currently plays in the first tier of the Portuguese women´s handball league.
Hóquei Clube de Leiria
For me the second most interesting thing in terms of local sport teams is the indoor hockey one. I come from a country where ice-hockey is basically the main sport and that is why I am interested to see what the indoor hockey is like and I’m definitely going to try my own rinkball “skills” indoor if the possibility is offered to me. How do you stop with those roller skates? How do you make those sharp turns you do on the ice to leave your opponents to bite your dust… Or maybe ice fern.
But that’s all about me. Sadly, the only information about the indoor hockey I found was that apparently there are only kids´ teams in Leiria. At least I didn´t find any records about the men´s team which disappointed me a little. This is a thing that I will have to investigate in the future.
Clube Basquetebol de Leiria
Basketball is now a big thing in my home country as our national team took its place in people´s hearts with their efforts in European Championships 2013. The ´wolf pack´ or ´wolf gang´ continued its raise by reaching the World championships in 2014.
For me basketball is an entertaining sport and I feel lucky for ´finding´ it. Too short to play it seriously myself but you don´t have to do everything to enjoy the sport.
But once again: hard to find from Leiria. I think that there are only junior teams in Leiria and no senior team at all. At least I didn´t find any records about it.
So basically you have two professional teams to follow in Leiria: the football team and the women´s handball team. I like to support the local teams in Finland and will be looking to do this in Leiria also. It is easy to get to see those games of Porto, Benfica and Sporting but I think that the local teams need us more. I´m not saying that I will not go to see any games of the big ones but I´m not doing it on the expense of the local ones.