In Brazil, soccer is a way of life and part of the sport’s popularity is that it transcends culture and class.
If there is a ball and a little bit of space, there is a good chance there is a soccer game being played, even in the country’s slums.
Photographers for AP, Reuters, and Getty recently captured some gorgeous photos of soccer being played in the slums of Brazil. Here are our favourites including these two boys watching other kids play soccer at the Mangueira slum in Rio de Janeiro.
Competition for fields in the slums, or “favelas,” can be fierce in the afternoons and evenings as kids want to play after school and adults play pick-up games.
In the Sao Carlos favela in Rio, a soccer field was built into the side of a hill.
Here is another view of the Sao Carlos soccer field.
Kids playing soccer in the Cantagalo slum in Rio with the Two Brothers Mountain and Ipanema neighbourhood seen in the distance.
Not far from the Maracana stadium in Rio, which will be used during the World Cup, kids participate in a soccer class.
Another soccer class in the Dona Marta slum takes place with the Christ the Redeemer statue in the distance.
A tournament takes place in one slum with Rio making for a backdrop.
In Rio’s Tavares Bastos slum, a make-shift field is nestled in between buildings.
Two teams in Sao Paulo compete in a “pelada,” or “naked,” match, a Sunday tradition in Brazil. The games are called “peladas” because players often play without shoes or the matches are played on grassless fields.
Not all of the fields are run-down.
However, most fields look more like this dirt patch in the Formiga slum of Rio.
Soccer in these slums offer a way for kids to stay off the streets that are often controlled by drug traffickers.
Even if a game is already being played, there is always an opportunity to kick a ball around and dream of being the next Neymar.
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