Editor’s Note: Andover freelance photographer Winslow Townson is on assignment in Brazil covering the World Cup for USA Today. He has been sharing some of his photos of World Cup play, as well as his view of Brazil, with The Townsman. More of his photos from Brazil may be viewed online at www.andovertownsman.com.
They passed, dribbled and headed the ball like they do it in their sleep. These were ultra-talented players with nary an ounce of body fat on them, and their game was fiercely competitive. Shots were hard and saves were made without regard to bodily harm. When a player was knocked down and a foul was committed, the guilty party was scolded. The action was non-stop until, that is, they needed to cool off with a dip in the ocean.
This group of kids I encountered on Boa Viagem Beach in Recife, Brazil played one of the best soccer games I have ever seen. Even after all the world-class games I’ve witnessed at the 2014 World Cup here in Brazil, I couldn’t take my eyes off of these talented youngsters.
Aside from being incredibly skilled, these carefree youngsters were also laughing and enjoying themselves as they played. They had crafted a few goals out of old wooden boards, grabbed a ball and they were off — younger ones playing with older ones. They were all just kids doing what kids everywhere do, making up games for the sake of fun.
At home, you might find makeshift base paths for some type of pickup baseball game or a few nets and a tennis ball for a round of street hockey. But in Brazil, it’s all about soccer. There may be other sports played here, but I haven’t seen anything but soccer during my visit.