Where Is Football? Supporting its local and women’s game in Chicago
Editor’s note: Our friend Nik Hak (aka The Footy Queen) is one of the biggest supporters of the beautiful game (not to mention AFR) around. She’s embraced our #WhereIsFootball project, and has done an incredible job showcasing the game as it lives in her surroundings. Based in Chicago, she’s now helping support a sustainable women’s soccer league (see her message below). The AFR Team is global, so if you’re in the Chicago area, think about supporting this and getting our extended team to set you up with a new, footy-loving group.
I recently took a part-time job in addition to my full-time one to work for a soccer organization in Chicago called Kick It Social. I’d been playing in Kick It Social leagues for the last year, and I’d really been enjoying my time with them. I appreciated the owner’s passion for the game (every time he steps on the field, his eyes light up with happiness), the relationship he built with teams & players in the league, and the level of play that the leagues had to offer (from beginners to competitive).
I was especially thankful for the risks he took in starting up women’s leagues through Kick It Social. Even though Chicago is a massive city - since I started playing adult leagues in the city in 2006, it seems that there has never been a lasting women’s league no matter how many organizations have tried to get one up and running. As a female player, I’m hopeful that a great women’s league can last and continue to grow in years to come - Chicago is certainly not short on female players.
“Lucky number seven" in Machu Picchu
It seems like yesterday when we launched our #WhereIsFootball project, but after two months
we’re you’re still going strong. This photo, taken by Ian Riley Mallahan in Peru, is the 50th we’ve featured on our Instagram. The project has transformed into a truly wonderful collage of the game in so many different spheres. So if you’re kicking with your friends or backpacking through South America, keep sharing your photos and show us: Where is football?
#WhereIsFootball: The Cantagalo favela, Rio de Janeiro
“This past summer I spent a month in Rio de Janeiro participating in a study abroad program which focused on applied anthropology. Throughout those four weeks we visited a number of community centers located in various favelas throughout the city.
This particular photograph was taken in the Espaço Criança Esperança community center in the Cantagalo favela. This center provides kids in Cantagalo with a place to explore books, music, and art, as well as sports such as swimming, boxing, and futebol. Towards the end of our visit we stopped and watched these kids display some pretty impressive skills.
Unfortunately that’s the only photo I have, wish I had taken more. - Mary Allen”
Thanks for a healthy dose of perspective, Mary. I’m calling this the other, other side of 2014. These kids may not have much, they may be the ones the government is refusing to take care of ahead of the World Cup, but no one will be taking that ball away from their feet. In a poverty-stricken favela, this futsal court will try to support the dreams and the joy of the next Ronaldinho.
#WhereIsFootball: Kabupaten Purworejo, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia
"Dear friends in AFR,
I wanna share football photos that I captured in my city. These are from the final match of amateur tournament in Kecamatan Bener, Kabupaten Purworejo. Hope you will be interested. And here’s a match report (in Indonesian). Thank you.”
Arit, we’re one day into the #WhereIsFootball project and you’re already making it a worthwhile pursuit. While I’m not sure where your city is (or even how to pronounce it correctly), in that last shot I see a familiar joy in such a foreign setting. Indeed, no setting where you find joy is too familiar or too foreign to share.
The Search Begins - #WhereIsFootball
The game is all around us. It often seems like we’re all seeing the same thing, but in reality we all experience the beautiful game through our own lens. So let’s bring our perspectives together and start to compile something remarkable. Starting today, we will begin sharing photos that capture the spirit of the beautiful game, taken by the AFR team and by you. We will feature all selected photos on the new A Football Report Instagram account, and also showcase our favourites here on AFR/Tumblr. But before we get started, we need you to get involved to make this project a success.
- You can send your photos our way by using the #WhereIsFootball hashtag on Twitter and Instagram or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We know what we’re seeing, but we want to create a new, personal medium to see the game through different sets of eyes. This opportunity lies at your feet. Follow our stream and help complete the question: where is football in your world?
[The photos featured above were all taken by the AFR Team. Locations: Praiano, Italy. Patagonia and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Marseille, France. Morocco. Lisbon, Portugal.]