I came across a piece that actually rivals anything that David Fleming has ever written for the title of "Stupidest Sports Article Ever". Now the comparison may be a little unfair - Flem writes for one of the most well-known sports media outlets in the world, and this piece, by Edgar Zuniga, appears on Yanks Abroad, a soccer site that few people have probably heard of. But still, this was too good to resist:
Wait...what is Mexico doing in the middle of the United States?
Dunno, trying to stay away from Arizona?
A quick geography lesson for ya: The official name of our neighbor to the south is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. This is ironic, considering how much Mexican soccer fans despise los Estados Unidos.
Yes, two neighboring countries are named similarly, yet despise each other's soccer teams. This is about as ironic as the cat being caught by the very person who was trying to catch him.
If you were to ask any Mexican how they feel about sharing a border with the US, they will attest that being located next to the US is both a blessing and a curse.
I bet you'd get a few differing opinions.
The politics of US-Mexico relations fuel alot [sic] of the hatred involved in the soccer rivalry. However, you have to remember that there always exists a thin line between love and hate.
OK, I'll keep that in mind.
And, when you start talking dollars, Mexicans change their tone. They love our dollars.
Take note, this theme runs bizarrely through the article, but it never becomes clear exactly what Edgar's point is.
Hold on, we're not talking politics here.
Good, "they love our dollars" doesn't really strike me as a political statement. Thanks for clarifying, though.
This is about a topic that has been simmering for quite a few years and is beginning to reach the boiling point as more US soccer fans become educated about the game and start paying attention to how other nations deal with their arch-rivals.
By hiring goon-squads to take them out, presumably.
As you read this, Mexico is looking forward to playing several World Cup warm-up games on American soil.
Having already played games against Bolivia, New Zealand and Iceland in various American cities, Mexico also has games booked against Ecuador (Meadowlands), Senegal (Chicago) and an opponent yet to be determined (Houston).
Wherever you live in the US, sooner or later, during 2010, the Mexican team will play somewhere near you.
I wonder who they're playing in Anchorage.
While it's interesting to see Mexico try to pull off their insane pre-World Cup schedule (which includes games in Europe) without crashing and burning out in the process, can you guess how many, out of 12 games, they're going to be playing at home?
Six? Four? How about two? Yes, two.
In fact, while Mexico scheduled only two games at home, they're slyly making themselves a home away from home in the US, playing six to seven matches.
Why won't Mexico play international opponents in the filth and smog of Azteca? Maybe those other teams realized what a dump it is and rejected the offer.
I'm guessing Edgar has never been to Azteca, because it's quite a beautiful stadium, and there's nothing filthy about it. I'll concede that the air quality is probably a concern for prospective visitors, but it's not nearly as bad as the stereotype.
But what about the many other suitable stadiums across Mexico? There are a couple of really nice stadiums in Pachuca and Guadalajara.
But you know what? It really has nothing to do with the stadiums.
What do Mexicans love most about the US? In the words of Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man, "Cash rules everything around me. C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dollar dollar bill y'all."
That's right, it all boils down to money.
Well, for Mexico maybe it does. For opponents logistics are probably important as well. Most flights from anywhere in the Eastern Hemisphere to Mexico go through the US anyway, it's probably easier to find decent training grounds in the US, security isn't as much of a concern, and so on.
Why the hell is Mexico, our arch-rival, allowed to play wherever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want and rake in dollar bills to benefit the Mexican Football Federation (FMF)?
It's a free country, as long as your papers are in order.
The FMF knows that there are millions of Mexicans living in the US and so, depending on where they play, they'll attract large crowds and be pulling in dollars instead of pesos.
Edgar seems really hung up on this dollar vs. peso distinction. Now, I'm sure the FMF has to transact much of its business in dollars, and that it's pretty useful to have dollars on hand. But does Edgar realize that one currency can be exchanged for another at these advanced institutions called banks? Sure the bank takes a small cut, but the real issue here is the value of the money generated, not the particular currency that's taken in. If there happened to be 12 million Mexicans living in Guatemala, I'm sure the FMF would gladly stage matches there, pull in the quetzales, and exchange them for dollars or pesos.
It's interesting to note that the peso was the first currency in the world to use the "$" sign, which the US dollar later adopted for its own use when the US adopted the peso as currency during the period before adopting the dollar.
It's interesting that you decided to straight up plagiarize a sentence from a Wikipedia page, but didn't even pick one that made sense. The US dollar adopted the symbol for its use before the US adopted the dollar?
There's some sick irony in all this.
Like rain on your wedding day...
History lessons aside, all this makes you wonder about the relationship between the US Soccer Federation (USSF) and the FMF and why they're letting the Mexican team have the run of the land.
Yes, and maybe your column would useful if you explored those reasons, rather than just ranting about what a travesty it is.
If you call yourself a US soccer fan and have a pulse, by this point, you should be visibly upset. Seriously, you should be angry.
I guess there's something wrong with my emotional compass.
How much is the USSF making out of this arrangement? What's their cut?
See the comment before last.
Do you think that the English FA would ever allow the German National Team to play friendlies all over England? What if Argentina's AFA let Brazil do the same?
Probably so, if the arrangements were beneficial in some way to England or Argentina respectively. But the point is moot, of course, as there aren't 12 million Germans living in England, nor do the logistical issues I mentioned earlier apply.
For those new to soccer, this is unconceivable.
It's "unconceivable" because Germany has no reason to play its friendlies in England, not because of any burning hatred.
Mexico playing friendlies in the US is equivalent to Ohio State University playing most of their football games in Michigan Stadium or the San Francisco Giants playing their home games at Dodger Stadium. That just doesn't happen.
No, really it's not. Going hundreds miles away from your fan base when you have a perfectly serviceable stadium right near home makes no sense. However, Mexico has a large fan base in the US. And it's not like they're playing in US Soccer's home stadium, as US Soccer doesn't have a home stadium. Finally, we're talking about exhibitions, and not meaningful games.
If it does, it's a clear sign that the Apocalypse is upon us.
When the hell has the US ever played an exhibition game in Mexico against someone other than Mexico for the purpose of making some pesos? Never!
Since we don't do X because it makes no sense for us to do X, Mexico shouldn't do X when it makes perfect sense for them to do X!
Not only would the Mexican fans be furious but they'd make the US feel as unwelcome as possible. You can be sure that Mexican fans would bash the FMF and question their actions.
Mexican fans certainly make the US feel unwelcome when it is in their interests to do so, ie. when the US is playing Mexico. But honestly I think the reaction to a US/third-party friendly in Mexico would be more like bemused indifference.
It's also sad that the Mexican team is playing more games on American soil than the US. While Mexico enjoys their farewell tour, the US has just one more game scheduled at home before the World Cup.
No, we have games scheduled against Turkey and the Czech Republic.
Now, I can already hear the arguments in support of letting Mexico play in the US. Do they sell out the stadiums? Not entirely, but they draw more fans than the US does (which is embarrassing).
Do their fans bring in alot of revenue to the stadiums and surrounding businesses? For the most part, yes.
Is seeing Mexico play this much on American soil giving Team USA an opportunity to scout Mexico? Yeah, you can say that.
As noted by many of the commentators to the article, the Mexican friendlies are promoted by Soccer United Marketing, which also happens to be marketing division of MLS. The USSF certainly has an interest in the promotion and success of MLS, so it's good that SUM gets a cut from these friendlies. I would imagine it's possible that the USSF directly gets a share of the proceeds in exchange for it's permission, but I won't look it up, because I don't want to do all of Edgar's work for him.
I can also hear some people out there saying that this whole argument against Mexico is adolescent and are probably asking what the big deal is with letting them play here. It's just business, right?
I think I'd use "infantile" rather than "adolescent".
I can only speak for myself when I say that there is no way I'm accepting money from my worst enemy to let him come into my house and use it to throw a party with all of his best friends and make a profit out of it.
That just ain't right, folks.
The US and Mexican national teams are enemies on the pitch, but have many common off-field interests. Aside from the monetary benefits that SUM and possibly the USSF receive from allowing these friendlies, we also have an interest in the Mexican squad improving. They are our frequent sparring partner, and the way to get better is play good teams. Furthermore it's good for us if CONCACAF shows well at the World Cup and other tournaments, as it could possibly increase the allotment for CONCACAF teams in future World Cups. And not being petty dicks to the Mexicans allows for things like this.
It's time for US fans to stop being so gosh darn nice and become more vocal about these sort of things.
We're not talking about some insane rebellion with torches and pitchforks in front of USSF headquarters (located on Prairie Avenue, in Chicago), but there needs to be an uprising.
Note the Flemingesque tendency to insert random irrelevant facts. Or was the location given here as a dog-whistle? Does Edgar really want us to take to Prairie Avenue in protest? But then why didn't he tell us the street number? Plausible deniability? Or does he want us to march up and down the street with our torches and pitchforks until we find the USSF headquarters?
Fans need to let the USSF know how they feel about the Federation allowing Mexico to play "home" games on our soil and tread on our fields like they were theirs. It simply isn't acceptable!
And, in case you need a rallying cry, just remember the motto of our national team.
Don't Tread On Me.
Or rather, Don't Tread Anywhere Near Me.