Monday, May 27, 2024

A volcanic crater that offers a “unique” soccer field


It’s highly unusual for a soccer pitch to be located in a ditch, but the referee blows the kick-off whistle every weekend on the outskirts of Mexico City.

“It’s nice to come here to forget your worries and relax with friends and family,” said Adrian Garcia, 32, who works as a graphic designer outside the soccer field.

The dormant Tijuca volcano rises about 2,700 meters above sea level in the leafy district of Xochimilco, southeast of the sprawling city.

About a dozen amateur league teams play in its groove on weekends.

The area was formerly a ceremonial center, but after it fell into disrepair it was converted into a football stadium.

League representative Joel Becerell said the stadium is “almost 70 years old” and added, “They took me here when I was a kid.”

At dawn, a thick fog covers the football field, but it gradually clears as the sun rises.

A road leads to the summit in addition to an 18-kilometer hiking trail that leads to the forested slopes of the volcano.

“It’s great,” said 47-year-old goalkeeper Daniel Mancia Pena. “It’s very impressive to be here on the field and to have such a great place to play football.

According to experts from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, there are more than 200 volcanoes, most of them dormant, in southern Mexico City and bordering the neighboring state of Morelos.

Mexico straddles the world’s most active earthquake and volcanic zone, known as the “Ring of Fire,” where the Pacific Ocean plate meets the surrounding tectonic plates.

Popocatebel, one of the country’s most active volcanoes, is located 70 kilometers from the capital and caused panic in May when it spewed ash, gases and molten rock.

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Camelia Garner
Camelia Garner
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