AYSO, Coliseum, East Los Angeles, El Tri, FIFA World Cup, football, Huntington Park, LAFC, Los Angeles Galaxy, Major League Soccer, Mexico, MLS, Pacoima, Rose Bowl, San Fernando Valley, soccer, Southern California, United States, World Cup, World Cup Soccer
El Tri, Mexico’s national team, in the midst of arguably the World Cup’s biggest upset in decades, their 1-0 triumph over defending champion Germany. Photo courtesy of sports.abs-cbn.com
JUST SOME THOUGHTS REGARDING THE WORLD’S BIGGEST SPORTING EVENT AND THE CONNECTION THAT MEXICO’S TEAM HAS WITH SOCAL
When the United States, in a pathetically epic fashion, failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia (going on right now) in losing to a Trinidad & Tobago team that, in all honesty, they should have been able to name the score against,
While I didn’t lose interest in this year’s version of the biggest sports event on this planet, I felt that the U.S. National Team not being in Russia set this country even further out of the loop as far as world culture is concerned.
I honestly didn’t pay that much attention to that once every four years tournament seeking the best team in the world’s most popular sport;
That is, until a week ago when I saw that El Tri – Mexico’s national team that has a very big presence in SoCal due to obvious reasons, regularly drawing roughly 90,000 fans to games at the Rose Bowl and the Coliseum, where 90% of the fans fervently rooting for them, even against the U.S. team – scoring a significant upset in beating defending champion Germany 1-0 in their World Cup opener on June 17th, setting off a wild celebration wherever Mexican fans congregated.
Fox 11 Los Angeles’ report on fans in Huntington Park and other places in L.A.wildly celebrating Mexico’s big win over Germany. Courtesy of YouTube (click on the link).
Which was particularly the case in East L.A., long a SoCal hub for the Mexican-American community, as fans walked down Whittier Blvd waving their flags of red and green with the eagle holding a snake in its beak in the middle in ecstatic triumph, as well as other places in the Los Angeles area like Huntington Park and Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley.
It reminded me of how the African-American community happily celebrated whenever boxing legend Joe Louis won a fight in the 1930s and 40s, especially when he won the heavyweight crown in 1937.
It didn’t take long for me, or any other sports person, probably, to figure out that with the U.S. soccer team in such bad shape as to not be one of the 32 teams currently in Russia, Mexico, the next nearest country, would be the adoptive team to root for in this World Cup for many if not most American soccer fans.
Personally, one word describes my feelings about what is called football in every country except this one and Canada…
Hirving Lozano (#22), after becoming Mexico’s newest national hero in scoring the goal that knocked off the defending World Cup champs on June 17th. Photo courtesy of chinaplus.cri.cn
Every time I catch a few minutes of a soccer game, whether it’s the Galaxy or the brand new LAFC, our two local teams, or especially an English Premier League game, the atmosphere that the fan bases provide at those matches – particularly in the United Kingdom (check out how 50,000 fans sing their team’s song at the top of their lungs during their games over there) – really hold my interest.
For the life of me, it’s hard to conceive fans who are so passionate and obsessive of teams like Liverpool, Manchester United, their rivals Manchester City (who I gravitate toward due to their colors being the same as UCLA’s), and Chelsea that groups of them, commonly known as hooligans, often brawl with the opposing team’s fans and force the police to completely separate the fan bases at places like Old Trafford in Manchester, Anfield in Liverpool, and Wembley Stadium in London.
I really can’t imagine that sort of thing going on in an AYSO game in the park.
HOW EL TRI DID IT: Highlights of Mexico’s 1-0 triumph over defending World Cup champion Germany on June 17th. Courtesy of YouTube (click on the link).
It would be great to see Mexico in the World Cup Final; they are in first place in their group, beating South Korea as well as Germany, with only a game against Sweden coming up this Wednesday before the knockout Round of 16 begins.
Heck, the more wins El Tri gets, the more fervent the fans, particularly in SoCal, will be.
And I can only imagine the celebrations that would commence if Mexico wins the title; the reaction among the fans would be akin to the Lakers or the Dodgers winning a championship, with the streets in East L.A. and other places being taken over.
As El Tri’s match against Sweden starts at 7:00 a.m on Wednesday, well…
While I can’t guarantee that I’ll be watching the entire game from start to finish, I’ll be sure to get updates, and maybe catch a few minutes of the affair.
Bottom Line: This World Cup, Mexico doing so well in it to date, and soccer in general to be honest,
Is nothing but fascinating to me.
So much so that seeing a game in England is on my bucket list.
And I plan to not only check out a LAFC match at Banc of California Stadium this summer, but write all about the experience on this blog.
Fervent fans of Mexico’s El Tri celebrating after their team’s triumph over Germany in L.A. Photo courtesy of latimes.com