Why hasn’t America caught the futbol bug?
RT’s Ramon Galindo hit the streets of Los Angeles to highlight the difference between the Latino fans of futbol and American football.
“I have my Mexican sombrero,” said Francisco Trejo proudly showing off some of the clothing he wears every time he goes to watch his favorite football team, the Mexican national team known around the world as “El Tri.”
This globetrotting diehard fan has traveled to more than 50 nations to see them in action. How many games has be attended?
“It’s hard to say, but I think over 100,” said Trejo.
He’s not really sure how many games he’s attended, or how much money he has spent travelling with the team.
This is the sixth world cup he’s attended, and has budgeted about $15,000 for the trip to South Africa.
The passion Trejo feels for football is also felt by other Americans, but it’s a different type of football that captures the hearts of sports fans in the US.
In America, people get dressed up to cheer on their heroes in helmets and shoulder pads.
But it would be tough to find an American football fan willing to take a month off work, like Trejo, and travel abroad to follow his team.
While football fans start their pre-game party with burgers and bratwursts, Latinos get things going with some carne asada, or grilled meat.
In Los Angeles’ south central neighborhood, high school students practice futbol inside since the American football team has taken over the outdoor field.
But as coach Jose Fernandez explains, his players don’t mind.
“Anywhere we can find space we play soccer,” he said.
In this neighborhood, there are many immigrant families who bring their love of soccer from nations like Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.
Players like Charlie Espiritu say the passion is something you’re born with.
“It’s in the blood,” he said
While American football fans can only cheer on their team for a few months out of the year, futbol fans are following the game year round.
The younger generation is optimistic the excitement will soon catch on.
“It’s coming up right here in the US and that’s a good thing,” said Espiritu.
Superfan Trejo believes the difference starts with a child’s first toy. In the US, a baby is given a baseball or the basketball, but in Mexico, you start with a soccer ball.
That might be why soccer continues to be the passion of nations around the world, but not in the United States.