By Julie R Butler
With the Liga MX Clausura 2019 wrapping up last week, the passion that Mexicans have for el juego bonito was once again on display. Saturday night’s semifinal was particularly emotional for the Tigres fans as well as the players, as they battled against los Rayados knowing that club legend Osvaldo Batocletti had passed away the previous day.
Sure, people around the world take great pride in their local and national sports teams. But Mexicans are world renowned for their fervor for fútbol.
El Tri: Connecting with Culture and Mexican-American Pride
What sets the Mexican men’s national soccer team apart from other national teams in terms of the size of the fanbase is the population of Mexican-Americans living in the States. Dan McCarney in San Antonio really put the massive popularity of El Tri in the United States in perspective when he reported:
“The Mexican-American population that backs El Tri so fervently would rank 38th among the world's 244 recognized countries and territories, not far behind Argentina (40 million) and Canada (35 million).”
The team’s biggest US-based fan group, Pancho Villa’s Army, has 5,000 members and over 30 chapters across the country. They even have corporate sponsors. It’s the connection with Mexican culture, along with a sense of family, that draws so many Mexican-Americans to become such devoted fans of El Tri, allowing them to be proud of their heritage while still being proud to be American.
That Time When Fans Mexico City Triggered an Earthquake During the 2018 FIFA World Cup
If you need further proof of the extraordinary ebullience of El Tri fans, consider the reports that soccer fans in Mexico City set off a minor earthquake when El Tri scored the winning goal against Germany during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Apparently, seismologists are now saying that the seismometers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico don’t confirm the readings from small devices that picked up movement within people’s homes. Nevertheless, 75,000 people rushing the Zócalo after the goal is damn impressive on its own!
Mexican Fútbol Fans Abroad Represent the Spirit of Mexico
While fútbol fans in Mexico and the United States are definitely a passionate bunch, it’s when they are abroad that they really show the true spirit of the tricolors. Mexicans were a big hit in Russia for the 2018 World Cup, with one Russian making the keen observation that “the Mexicans are having the most fun.” Whether it was the oversized sombreros, the bueno rollo mexicano, or the sheer number of devoted fans that flooded into Russia and overpowered rival supporters in the stands, Mexican fans captivated the world with their dedication to their national fútbol team, the sport of soccer – and having fun!