Football, or soccer, is the most popular sport in the world. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population consider themselves to be association football fans. The sport enjoys an estimated 4 billion person following, and a global sphere of influence. The game
- The Koh Panyee floating village, Thailand. Inspired by the 1986 FIFA World Cup, children built the pitch from old scraps of wood and fishing rafts. The boys decided to form a football team and compete in the Southern Thai School Championships. After making it to the semi-finals in an inland tournament, achieving the second place in a strange situation (the second half they decided to play barefoot since they were used to that), all the village were inspired to take up the sport. So a brand new pitch was built, although the wooden one still remains and is popular among tourists. As for the builders of the original wooden field, they are still well respected by everyone. They are called the Original Eleven. And they can be found in the stands, supporting the team they created from scratch.
- The Uros floating islands, Lake Titicaca, Peru. The lake rests at a dizzying altitude of 3810 meters above sea level. To make an island, the Uros people create a sturdy but light base tying together layers of totora roots. Totora roots are naturally buoyant at the time of harvest. The roots float to the surface of the lake during the rainy season between November and March. Uros men are in charge of collecting the best roots for their islands. If the roots have too much soil, they will sink. Much of the Urus’ diet and medicine also revolve around the same totora reeds used to construct the islands.
- Taquile island, Lake Titicaca, Peru. The island is 45 km offshore from the city of Puno. About 2,200 people live on the island, which is 5.5 by 1.6 kilometres in size, with an area of 5.72 km². The highest point of the island is 4050 meters above sea level. To play at high altitude here and with the beating sun and dry winds, the conditions would test the lungs of any professional footballer.