Nike Series Provides an Inside-Look at Latin America’s Scrappy, Small-Sided Soccer Culture

For decades, conventional wisdom has held that Latin America is the land of street soccer. So much so that we have no shortage of slang terms for the impromptu games held on the pavement: cascaritas, pelada, pinchanga, picadito, etc. Unlike Europe, where great teams are produced through hierarchical training academies and sophisticated coaching, in Latin America our greatest players come up from the streets. For us, soccer often starts on the pavement – in impromptu matches where skill and individual style matter more than the score.

Nike is launching a new series of short films, photography and stories celebrating this scrappy and inventive style of play. Ahead of Copa America 2015, they will be traveling to four capital cities – Mexico City, Río de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Santiago – to get an inside look at how small-sided teams continue to be one of the biggest influences in Latin American soccer.

This improvisational small-sided culture was also the inspiration for Nike’s new FootballX collection, including a shoe called the MagistaX which features Lunarlon midsole cushions against hard surfaces and delivers enough give for the player to feel the ball through the sole of the boot.

You can learn more about the series, including its inaugural chapter on Mexico City, here.