MANAUS, Amazonas - There are no limits to the places where soccer is being played or watched during this summer's World Cup in Brazil. Yahoo Sports explored the depths of Brazil's soccer obsession by undertaking an adventure deep into the Amazon Jungle to pursue this story.
A 90-minute boat ride up the Rio Negro River, you’ll find the tiny village of Santa Helena Do Ingles. This small community of 73 people is one of 19 villages situated along the river that is participating in the “Riverside Cup."
This tournament, which was inspired by the World Cup, pits neighboring villages against each other, with matches taking place every Saturday. This Amazon jungle-based cup competition is set to continue throughout the rest of the year.
Villages taking part in the Riverside Cup face logistical and financial challenges incurred by traveling through the jungle to neighboring villages for matches. However participating villages do receive financial compensation for hosting matches. Nelson, the President of Santa Helena Do Ingles, says the Riverside Cup has been an economic boost to his community.
One of the most surprising things we discovered in our journey up the Amazon was the abundance of modern comforts and technology. Among other things, we were surprised to see two flat screen TVs in the village showing live World Cup matches. They’ve only had electricity here for about two years and being able to watch this summer’s World Cup was a major priority.
Technology, like soccer, is one of the factors that continues to bring people around the world closer together. Our journey up the Amazon to experience the Riverside Cup was another reminder of how, every four years, the World Cup brings the world together, at least for a few weeks.