I was born a soccer player. I've been playing since the age of four. I only ever tried to quit one time when I was in 3rd grade and learned what sprints were, luckily my mom wouldn't let me. Thanks mom! Soccer has been pretty awesome for me considering it has been my emotional outlet for good times and bad, a way I've kept fit, and a way I've made long lasting friendships. I love playing it and watching it. Whatever way you spin it, it's the best sport in the world.
When I moved to Mexico playing soccer here was not something I thought about before I came. Luckily, my friend Claudia knew I played and invited me to play on a team with her several years ago and I've been playing ever since.
Being a soccer player and fan in Mexico is pretty great. It is well known that Mexicans love fútbol and I love that they love it! It's definitely nice living in a country that is extremely passionate about soccer and shows the games on TV - kind of like American football is shown on TV in the US.
In 2010 I was living in Cancun during the World Cup and what an experience it was. First of all, I loved how they showed pretty much all the games on TV no matter which team was playing. Second, Mexico fans were so passionate about their team, some people took off work and school just to watch. Any sort of win was a reason to celebrate in the streets. I had never seen anything like it.
Another good thing about playing soccer in Cancun is that the rules sometimes vary slightly. Two different times I received a red card and was ejected from a game (Who me?!?!) HAHA it doesn't happen a lot, but I can't say it hasn't happened in the USA too. When you get a red card you're generally suspended from the next game in your league or tournament...a sucky punishment and one that most of my teams fear because they don't like to play without me. The first time it happened to me, my wonderful teammates talked to the mangers who ran the league and I was able to pay a small fee of $200 pesos and play in the very next game. The second time it happened a few weeks ago, my teammates again talked to the league managers and even decided we would split the fine as a team so that I could play in the next game. This time it was really important because the game I would have missed was the semifinal!
Paying fines in place of game suspensions is new to me as this was never an option for me playing soccer in the States. Additionally, I felt appreciative that my team would go out of their way to help me with the fines. Not having to sit out after a red card is great.
It's been said that soccer brings people together from all walks of life and I couldn't agree more. This is especially apparent in Mexico. The majority of people here have their favorite team and grew up playing, some of them continuing into adulthood. They don't only cheer on Mexico's national team, they cheer on their favorite Mexican league team (I cheer for Atlante & Chivas now!), their favorite Champions league team, their favorite BBVA Spanish league team, and the list goes on. There are pick up games in the street and on the beach.
As soon as I came to Mexico and I realized what soccer fanatics Mexicans were I just knew: these are my people. When you love soccer as much as I do, your heart smiles when you find people who feel the same. Now bring on the World Cup in Brazil!
Do you love soccer as much as I do or are you passionate about another sport? Tell me in the comments below!