PDN Photo of the Day

Soccer Kids: It’s Universal

Nico Oved, a Toronto native currently based in Oakland, CA, follows Major League Soccer and has been a “diehard” fan of his hometown team, Toronto FC, since their first season in 2006. For the last few years Oved has made portraits of young soccer players in the various places his work has taken him—West Africa (Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire), Scandinavia (Denmark and Sweden), Belize and Brazil. “Soccer is nearly universal—it can be found almost everywhere” Oved tells PDN via email about his ongoing series, “Soccer Kids.” “So is adolescence—we all remember what it was to be that age.” The first image [slide 3] was made while Oved was with his brother, who was a correspondent out of Ivory Coast [slides 1, 5, 7]  for the AP. They had just arrived in Lomé, Togo, and saw a youth soccer team playing down the beach. Work for the Brazilian network, O Globo television, took him to Scandinavia [slides 2 and 4], and during a vacation in Belize he walked right into the National Football Association’s office to get a referral to a youth academy [slides 8 and 9]. In Brazil, where he used to live, he worked a few small jobs for Luna Brand and Diapositivo Films, and reconnected with friends [slides 6]. Oved has only photographed boys so far, and one group shot [slide 10]. The “team of misfits,” he says, was photographed at the “relatively prestigious” Academy in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He spent the day shooting the kids in their matching uniforms, but noticed other kids hanging out nearby. “Turns out they are the kids who can’t afford the Academy fees and aren’t officially part of the team—but their friends are, and they come with them to practice after school.” Next up, Oved says, are portraits from the United States, and he would like to add girls to the mix.

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