Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2014 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, June 21, 2014
The number of fans cheering
Mexico at the World Cup has taken
observers in Brazil by surprise. But
talk to those waving the green-
white-and-red, and it becomes
clear that when the tournament
ends, many will return home not
to Mexico, but to the United States.
It s unknown how many of the
200,000 World Cup tickets sold to
people in the US were bought by
fans of Mexico.
The number, however, certainly
has boosted the 34,000 who pur-
chased tickets from Mexico itself,
according to sales figures released
by international soccer s governing
For Mexico s first match at Dunas
stadium in Natal, the Mexican Soccer
Federation expected about 15,000
fans would be there to cheer for "el
Tri," as Mexico s team is known. But
by the time the team claimed its 1-
0 victory over Cameroon, surprised
local media speculated there were
at least twice that number.
On Tuesday, when Mexico tied
Brazil 0-0, the number of fans wear-
ing green or red in Castelao Stadium
was large and passionately loud
against the World Cup host.
"That s the talk here," said Juan
Chacon, a Mexico supporter who
lives in Texas. "We re asking each
other, Where did so many come
The United States has seen steady
growth in its Hispanic population,
which now makes up 17 per cent of
the total population, or 53 million
people. About two-thirds of those
trace their roots to Mexico. At the
same time, strong earning power in
the United States makes it easier for
Mexicans and Mexican-Americans
living there to afford the trip to Brazil.
Per-capital annual income in the US
is US$47,000, compared to
US$9,000 in Mexico.
US travel agencies were ready to
capitalise on World Cup travelers,
regardless of whether they were
cheering for Team USA or Mexico.
Fans wanting to follow their preferred
team to Brazil s various host cities
could purchase a luxury travel pack-
age for US$11,000 including high-
end hotels, personal tour guides and
local transportation, or economy
deals without the frills for between
US$3,000 and US$4,000.
Many of the soccer fans traveling
from the US are part of the last great
wave of Mexican migration to the
United States, which spanned the
1990s to the mid-2000s. Others are
second-generation Mexicans who
grew up rooting for the Mexican
team at a time when Team USA was
Chacon, for one, was born in Ciu-
dad Juarez, Mexico, but grew up and
studied in El Paso, Texas. He and
two American friends traveled to see
Mexico in both Natal and Fortaleza,
where the team faced Brazil.
While he speaks Spanish with his
friends and with Mexicans he has
met during his trip through Brazil,
it s not always smooth.
"All of a sudden, out comes the
Spanglish," he said, such as when
he s asked what he does for a living.
"How do you say customer serv-
ice? " he wondered, before exclaim-
ing with relief, "Soporte al cliente!"
Francisco Trejo and his two sons
traveled to Fortaleza from Los Ange-
les. "As with us, there are many more
friends and acquaintances here who
have (US) nationality, but the truth
is we came to support Mexico com-
Daniel Hawkins, a professor at the
University of Nebraska at Omaha
who has studied the sociology of
sports, said the support for Team
Mexico is only natural.
Mexican-Americans, he said, "love
the US They would cheer for them,
but they have this loyalty to Mexico.
It s a cultural thing of identifying
with your home culture in addition
to being American."
That sentiment was on display by
the Dallas chapter of a fan club called
Pancho Villa s Army, which formed
last year to support the Mexican
team. At a beach in Fortaleza in
northeast Brazil, members of the
group posed with a banner showing
the Mexican seal against an outline
of the Dallas skyline.
have always been huge Mexico soccer
fans. It gets passed on by our cul-
ture," said club founder Sergio Tris-
"The USA soccer team is relatively
new. So, there are a lot of people in
my generation that, now that we
have money in our pockets, we are
going to travel with our team."
Marcos Mijares, a 42-year-old
Atlanta resident, said he roots for
Mexico even though he s lived in the
United States for more than 10 years.
"For us, to root for Mexico is like
eating tortillas," he said. "You ve got
to do it." (AP)
Many fans of Mexico at World Cup from US
A Mexican fan holds up a sign saying she comes from Compton in southern
Los Angeles County, before the group A World Cup soccer match between
Brazil and Mexico at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil on Tuesday.
The number of fans cheering Mexico at the World Cup has taken observers
in Brazil by surprise. AP PHOTO
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