’Further-a-field’ – A Soccer project
The soccer fields project came about before the ‘soccer frenzy’ of the Soccer World Cup in 2010 when we started noticing how much soccer was being played in the rural areas. Wherever we drove we saw that soccer fields were always an integral part of a nearby community & part of the scenery around KZN (Kwa-Zulu-Natal) and I am sure it is the same in other SA provinces and world-wide.
In my travels I then began logging where the fields were and returned to them at dusk or dawn when it all looked so much better – and the shoot also fitted in with the usual late afternoon soccer practice times.There was always a ‘coach’ or organiser for the teams – mostly older guys giving generously of their time and expertise and in their words, ” ..keeping the guys off the streets”. Wattle trees tied together make up the goalposts and an open space becomes the playing field. In the outskirts of Richmond while photographing a group of players there were a few smiles and odd looks – when I enquired they motioned to what I was using as my platform to get a higher shot – a freshly covered grave, an area needing a bit more respect than what I was giving it. Apologies followed and they laughed even more – their soccer field was an open space surrounded by the local cemetery…Karien Hunter from AMC Hunter attorneys caught the vision and ordered calendars for their clients and this gave the project a great boost. On shoots I took along new soccer balls and handed them out to replace the well-worn ones. Some odd-looking, mis-shapen soccer balls were even hand-made from a variety of strange materials, but it did not deter the spirit of their game.
I know I only scratched the surface of what is out there in the rural soccer fields but I hope the energy and enthusiasm for soccer that I saw can one day be harnessed and the raw talent channelled in the right direction.