Sports Outside the Beltway

Mexico, The Most Popular Team In America

Atleast when it comes to soccer.

A frenzied crowd of nearly 50,000 soccer fans, the largest ever to watch a non-World Cup game in Northern California, will gather in Oakland tonight to watch an exhibition game between two national teams from foreign countries — Mexico and Ecuador.

The Mexican national team is the most popular soccer team in the United States and consistently outdraws America’s team, or any other soccer club for that matter.

And any game in California is like a home game for the Mexicans.

The Oakland Coliseum will be filled with thousands of screaming fans wearing “El Tricolor” — the green, red and white of the Mexican national flag. The game sold out nearly a month ago. Tickets originally priced at $60 were being resold on Craigslist for $150 on Tuesday.

“We in Mexi-fornia consider this a home game,” said Roger Fernandez, owner of ChivaMex, a store in Oakland’s Fruitvale District that specializes in Mexican League and other international soccer apparel. “I mean Ecuador is coming to our house, so we got to represent for Mexico.”

Its really not suprising story to read because despite America’s size soccer’s popularity ranks somewhere between the NHL and hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. Beyond that its really not suprising that Mexican immigrants maintain a close tie to the team the respresents their home country, especially given the large amount of spanish media outlets that can provide an up to the second link to their childhood teams. Of course with everything there are problems because many of the fans still act like they are in Mexico for the game, which is why I aviod any game in which a Latin American Team is involved. At any given game played in Southern California its not uncommon for the US National Anthem to be booed, objects thrown at non-Mexican fan, threats of violence, and so on. Its great to support your team, even I pull for teams that represent countries where my family comes from (when they aren’t playing the US), but you don’t need to be a soccer hooligan to do it.

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