Soccer Fields In The Middle Of Nowhere

In 2018, 21st FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia. 11  cities were selected for the tournament by the Russian Football Union and FIFA: Moscow, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Yekaterinburg. In anticipation of the event, cities authorities will construct and renovate soccer fields and accompanying infrastructure.

Meanwhile, across the country, hundreds of Russian amateur soccer teams are taking part in local championships. These matches often take place without any media attention, often without fans or sponsors. However, it doesn’t mean that the games are going on with less passion.

Photographer Sergey Novikov is documenting amateur fields next to churches and military shipyards ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Most of the soccer fields Novikov photographs date back over 50 years to a time when few in Russia had television, and watching local soccer games was more popular. Novikov’s photo project aims to draw public attention to the problems of amateur soccer in Russia. Also, it intents to show diversity of the soccer landscape, unique locations of the Russian soccer arenas, their role in the urban infrastructure, regional identity and impact on local communities. The project includes picturesque photos of amateur soccer fields scattered across the country. To support the project, please purchase previous self-published book of the author “FC Volga United”.

Totma, Vologda province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Totma, Vologda province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Troitsk, Moscow, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Troitsk, Moscow, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Bologoe, Tver province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Bologoe, Tver province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Lazarevskoe, Krasnodar region, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Lazarevskoe, Krasnodar region, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kirovsk, Murmansk province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kirovsk, Murmansk province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kovdor, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kovdor, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Tsivilsk, Chuvashia, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Tsivilsk, Chuvashia, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Moscow, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Moscow, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Monchegorsk, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Monchegorsk, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Khelyulya, Karelia, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Khelyulya, Karelia, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kurganinsk, Krasnodar province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kurganinsk, Krasnodar province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Polyarny, Murmansk province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Polyarny, Murmansk province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Valdai, Novgorod province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Valdai, Novgorod province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Gubkin, Belgorod province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Gubkin, Belgorod province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Snezhnogorsk, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Snezhnogorsk, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Fedino, Moscow province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Fedino, Moscow province, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kuvshinovo, Tver province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Kuvshinovo, Tver province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Veliky Ustyug, Vologda province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Veliky Ustyug, Vologda province, 2014. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Zapolyarny, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Zapolyarny, Murmansk province, 2012. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Pryazha, Karelia, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

Pryazha, Karelia, 2013. Sergey Novikov / Via grassrootsrussia.com

– via buzzfeed.com

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