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
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
Hásteinsvöllur Stadium in Iceland
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
Henningsvær Stadion in Norway
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 -
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
A train going through the Jánošovka Stadium in Slovakia
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
Adidas Futsal Park in Tokyo
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
Meshchersky Park Pitch near Moscow
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
The Float at Marina Bay in Singapore -
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 the Irish 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
Eiði Stadium in the Faroe Islands
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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