'Soccer in Sun and Shadow' All Around Havana

The Cristiano Ronaldo jersey seems to have replaced the guayabera as the smartest shirt in Havana. They were so common, in fact, that my friend Meg — who has zero interest in soccer — began pointing out polyester CR7 shirts in wooded parks, in crowded bars and along the quiet calles.

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SOCCER IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Ridgewood, Queens

Several distinct soccer cultures converge in Ridgewood, a little triangle along the Brooklyn border hemmed in by the industrial zone north of Metropolitan Ave and the freighter tracks to the east. Yesterday, I saw a guy walking on Fresh Pond Road in a Lewandowski jersey (representative of the neighborhood’s large Polish population) and a little kid in a Barcelona SC kit – the yellow one cluttered with more ads than an XVideos page – kicking a ball against his garage (an example of the Ecuadorian set). Meanwhile, my Albanian landlord is obsessed with Real Madrid, Serie A, Albanian SuperLiga and seemingly every other world league. There are also Romanian-American cultural and soccer centers, minivans decked out in Chivas paraphernalia and a growing footy hipster contingent who visit local bars to brunch with the Premier League.

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