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Inside Volcanoes, In Front Of Trains: 10 Stunning Soccer Fields Around The World

Henningsvær Stadion in Norway

On September 19, the Cumbre Vieja, a volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma, erupted. Since then, it's been a daily spectacle of plumes of black smoke and lava spewing in the air and destroying everything on its path down to the Atlantic shore, with some 6,000 locals forced to evacuate

With this autumn's dramatic images, all of Spain has been volcano-obsessed, and Madrid-based daily La Rázon pointed out to its readers last week that inside a (non-active!) volcano in Mexico, there is ... would you believe ... the El 'Teoca' soccer pitch.

We've explored, and found examples of places around the world where the love of soccer has prompted locals to carve a field into whatever natural surroundings were there first — defying the elements and offering breathtaking views.

We've found 10 from Iceland to Japan to Brazil, and beyond. Take the tour below:

El ‘Teoca’, Santa Cecilia Tepetlapa, Mexico

photo of El 'Teoca', the field of the gods in Mexico, source: Google Earth

El 'Teoca', the field of the gods in Mexico

source: Google Earth

Teoca means 'place where the gods live,' and it is found right in the middle of an extinct volcano crater. You don't have to be a pro to play with the gods on this pitch located in the southern borough of Mexico City of Xochimilco, as both amateurs and professionals train and play on this field, rising 2,435 meters above sea level.

Hásteinsvöllur, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland

photo of H\u00e1steinsv\u00f6llur Stadium in Iceland

Hásteinsvöllur Stadium in Iceland

wikipedia.org

The floor is lava! Well, was, actually. This football pitch, located in the only human settlement in the Westman Islands archipelago, was built on a soil once covered in lava from the eruption of the Eldfell volcano in 1973. The volcano is actually still active and less than a mile away from the field. This doesn't stop the ÍBV club (Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja) from holding their matches here.

Henningsvær Stadion, Norway

photo of Henningsv\u00e6r Stadion in Norway on an island

Henningsvær Stadion in Norway

Unsplash/Error 420

Despite being a small fishing village of 500 inhabitants, located in the Lofoten archipelago, Henningsvær has one of the most famously beautiful football pitches in the world. Offering a spectacular backdrop of sea and fjords, it has no stands but rocks.

Shell Football Pitch, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Player-powered Shell Football Pitch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil -

PaveGen/Gen

Football can be a dirty game when it comes to energy consumption. This field instead is tapping into the players' very own kinetic energy thanks to PaveGen energy-capturing tiles placed under the artificial turf. They thus provide electricity to the spotlights around the pitch.

Jánošovka Stadium, Slovakia

PHoto of A train going through the J\u00e1no\u0161ovka Stadium in Slovakia

A train going through the Jánošovka Stadium in Slovakia

Youtube/vlareha

Forget about your Vuvuzela! To cheer the players of TJ Tatran Čierny Balog, the local amateur club, trains will provide the right amount of whistles and steam as they pass slowly between the field and the supporters.

Adidas Futsal Park, Tokyo, Japan

Aerial view of Adidas Futsal Park in Tokyo

Adidas Futsal Park in Tokyo

Flickr/Trey Ratcliff

If soccer players want to be at the top of their game, they can try being on the top of a building. Located in the heart of Tokyo's busy district Shibuya, on the rooftop of the Tokyu Department Store, this outdoor futsal park is open day and night, for school children to professional players and offers a great panoramic view. One might argue futsal court is not a football pitch. Yet, this one was built as an introduction to the 2002 FIFA World Cup, hosted by both Japan and South Korea.

Meshchersky Park Pitch, Russia

Photo from above of Meshchersky Park Pitch near Moscow in Russia

Meshchersky Park Pitch near Moscow

Unsplash/Philipp Trubchenko

If you're looking for some peace and quiet with your soccer, this is your place. Located 20 minutes outside the bustle of Moscow, right in the middle of the Meshchersky forest park, playing or watching a game can be followed by time on hiking trails and ski tracks. The pitch is open 24/7.

The Float at Marina Bay, Singapore

Photo from above of the Float at Marina Bay in Singapore -

The Float at Marina Bay in Singapore -

Flickr/David Jones

Like the Eiffel Tower, this football pitch is a good example of a temporary construction that was so popular it became permanent. This impressive floating platform is fixed to the seabed by six pylons while the stands sit separately on the shore.

It was designed in 2007 for the Singapore National Team to play while the National Stadium was being built. However, it never held a single match from the team but it has been used for concerts, ceremonies, community events and even otters gathering during COVID.

Yucai High School football pitch, Beijing, China

When Yucai High School was planning to building the soccer pitch, officials asked permission from the city to relocate the 100-year-old tree. No luck. Because of the tree's age, a removal would have been too risky for what is considered a national treasure. The field, instead, was built around it and now it has become the symbol of the institution.

A similar configuration can be found in the Romanian village of Tonciu, reports theIrish Mirror. And in Estonia, in the parish of Orissaare, the 150-year-old oak was even named 2015 European Tree of the Year.

Á Mølini Stadium, Eiði, Faroe Islands

Photo of Ei\u00f0i Stadium in the Faroe Islands

Eiði Stadium in the Faroe Islands

Unsplash/Ferdinand Stöhr

There is a chance that as many footballs ended up in this pitch's goals as they did in the sea. Located between the Norwegian Sea and Lake Niðara Vatn, it is subject to very strong and unpredictable winds that make it difficult to control the ball trajectory.

Nevertheless, it hosted matches of the Faroe Islands national team until recently, despite having very little space for fans to sit, or stand.

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Society

India Faces Eternally Complex Child-Care Question: What To Do With Kids Of Women Prisoners

While growing up inside a prison leads to a range of difficulties for children, those separated from their mothers and left on the outside also face different traumas. In this in-depth reportage for India's The Wire, journalist Sukanya Shantha talks to mothers who had to give birth in jail and those who went without seeing their children for years to keep them protected.

Indian woman holding her boy in New Delhi

Sukanya Shantha

MUMBAI — Raginibai was at the construction site when a large police search team came looking for her. Her husband was found brutally murdered, and his body — wrapped in a jute bag — had been buried several feet under the construction debris close by. The police suspected that Raginibai, along with a man they claimed was her “lover,” was involved in the murder. Raginibai denied this charge vehemently.

But at that moment, neither her husband’s death nor the police’s suspicion could unsettle her. The well-being of her five-year-old son, who shadowed her everywhere at the construction site in Taloja, on the outskirts of Mumbai, was all that she worried about.

Raginibai, a landless migrant labourer and a Dalit woman from Kalahandi — one of the most backward districts in the eastern Indian state of Odisha — feared that the police would take her child away and she would never be able to see him again. In desperation, she requested that the police hand her child over to a person she claimed was her sister. This was a claim that the police was legally bound to — yet never bothered to — independently ascertain.

Raginibai was arrested on November 15, 2019. She was pregnant at the time. She gave birth to a girl, her third child, inside an overcrowded Kalyan district jail, over 50 km away from Mumbai city.

Her eldest, a 12-year-old daughter, was away at Raginibai’s mother’s house in Odisha at the time of the arrest. With no parental support or financial backing, her daughter had to drop out of school and is now being forced into child labor in a paddy field, many kilometers outside her village.

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