PELADA’s (Soccer) Around the World

Posted: May 5, 2012 in NEW FRIENDS, Secrets, Table Of Contents, TRAVEL / Gatherings
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This is my record of PELADA’s I come across on my travels.

Along the way I have crossed path’s with friends from my college playing days who created a documentary titled “PELADA”. Check out their video journal.

I saw this film at SxSW 2010 and it kicked ass. The crew spent a year traveling the world playing pickup soccer games and documenting the cultural impact. They put themselves in harms way several times to get into a game, for the love of it. They bribed their way into a prison game, the girl (Gwendolyn Oxenham) played in a Muslim game where women were not allowed and they almost got evicted from the country and had their tapes taken away; they even played as Jews vs. Muslims in Jerusalem.

After the film I hung out with the crew all night and shared our traveling soccer stories. We even discovered that we had met in passing when Gwen’s UNC team played my girlfriends Husker team.  I am absolutely delighted to see they made it into Netflix’s rotation.

Netflix Summary – *Two Americans who love soccer but didn’t make it in the pros travel to 25 different countries, where they find people of all backgrounds, races and classes who play the game for the sheer joy of it, regardless of their surroundings or equipment. A pelada, or pick-up game, is spontaneous, serious and fun, and anyone can join in. In exotic locales such as Bolivia, Kenya and Iran, the filmmakers celebrate the camaraderie generated by soccer.


CA, Los Angeles – Most of the up scale neighbor hoods have conditioned their residents into thinking they need to pay and play organized leagues so the fields are only available for Peladas before 2pm. School hours run in 2 sessions ranging from 7:30am to noon and noon- 4:30 so kids are often on the fields as early as noon making it hard to structure pick up games.

The most reliable games are dominantly Latino and located in north Compton’s Willowbrook Park and North Hollywood’s Park. Willowbrook is a dirt pitch with regulation goals.

North Hollywood plays nightly 6-8p and uses trash cans for goals. The pitch is just a field in the park.

Venice Beach houses soccer tennis players on the north end green space.

El Sequndo beach is famous for the areas only over night camping and fire pits. You will find Brazilians playing beach soccer here most weekends 1-8pm.

For random games, College Campuses are the best chance to get some action here.

LA, NEW ORLEANS – South of the cities central park is a field where players play with a $5 bet per person most nights from 6-8ish. Visitors are welcome.


GI – Stolley Park M,W,F-Sun. 6-9pm. The field is good with permanent goals but no nets. Goals are surrounded by holes and dirt.

The Senior High School has a top 10 national boys program that trains off season on the school field. You can get in their game but they play using only balls as target goals so not much shooting. They are well trained and 37-1 in their recent 2 seasons of 2011-2012.

Lincoln –  You will get games most any time during the day on the campus rec fields before organized leagues take it over.

PA, Stroudsberg – Central Park by the river has a field with weekend games but the field is full of holes, mostly dirt and dangerous so Wed and FR nights there are games from 6-8p five miles east of town where Hwy 209 and Twin Falls Road meet in Marshall’s Creek. (Near the Jersey border and Delaware Water Gap Worthington State Park) It is a nice field with regulation goals but a ways to travel without a confirmed game.

TX, Tyler / Lawndale – Tue and TR from 6-9pm. Decent WIDE field with regulation goals but it is 100+ degrees from June-August. If it rains hard no one wants to play. Just like Los Angeles, it does not rain or get cold here much so players do not like to play in wet weather. The game is Latino vs. Arabic mostly.

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