First stop on Nike’s trip around South America takes us to Mexico City, a city with a heart that beats solely for football. This is not only because of its three top teams, but also because of the many players, who take to the streets every single day, to express and showcase their skills.
Mexico is football crazy – that’s all there is to say. The country did great at both the Olympics in London, where they won and at the World Cup in Brazil last year. This has really got the country hoping for bigger and better things at the Copa America, which will take place this summer.
Football is one of the things in Mexico that transcends and eliminates all class differences – rich, as well as poor play on the many courts, also known as canchas, after school and on the weekends. Everyone comes to improve their technique and for some maybe even keep the dream of playing professionally alive.
Seher One, a local artist says: “Football is to me a way of life. It’s our DNA. You belong in the world of football, and you always will. I love football, spotting new talent in the Mexican league – or just watching people play in the streets. It doesn’t matter where I see a goal being scored, I always get chills.”
In Mexico City street-football is all about technique and not as much about being quick, or strong. The city is filled to the brim with small-sided pitches and this means that people really have to improvise. You have to be creative to score on a crowded court and you are always in close contact with the ball.
But street football is about so much more than just playing with the ball. To many it’s a way to forget time and space – a way to forget your hardships, so you can keep going, even if things aren’t always ideal. This is definitely also something that is reflected in Mexico City’s streets, where people play with instinct, togetherness and an ability to always adapt. And who knows – maybe a future superstar is hiding somewhere in these streets?
Stay tuned, as Nike continue their trip around South America – next time they visit Buenos Aires, where the street-culture is also a large part of people’s lives. What do you think about playing street football compared to traditional 11-a-side? Share your thoughts with us and tag your friends in the box down below.