By Nicolás Cabrera
Immigration is transforming the United States in countless ways. Sports is one social arena where the influence of immigrants is making a change in society. In today’s story, New Mexico State University graduate student Nicolás Cabrera takes us to one recent event in New Mexico that illustrated how fútbol, or soccer, is sowing common ground.
Fútbol, or soccer as it is known in the United States, is the most popular sport across Latin America. For four years preceding the FIFA World Cup, millions of fans across the globe watch their national teams vie for a coveted spot at the world’s premiere sporting event.
While soccer is not the most popular sport in the U.S., its fan base is growing in large part by immigrants who bring the passion of the game with them. Mirroring national trends, soccer in New Mexico has been growing in popularity, too.
This was unmistakable when hundreds of soccer fans gathered in Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza on October 10 to watch the U.S. and Mexico national teams play on a jumbotron. The Albuquerque Sol Football Club sponsored the free viewing party. It had a live feed of U.S. and Mexico competing in Pasadena for a bid to the 2017 Confederation’s Cup.
“The event was organized because we’re trying to grow the soccer culture,” said Larry Espinosa, one of the organizers with Albuquerque Sol F.C. “There will be the fans from both sides. This is a cool event and it’s a cool group of people coming together to watch the beautiful game.”
The giant screen and chairs were placed at the north end of the downtown plaza. Soccer fans supporting both countries started arriving in the early evening to enjoy food and refreshments. Kick-off was at 7:30 pm and the crowd was a sea of red, white, and blue Team USA jerseys intermingled with Mexico’s red, white, and green tricolor.
Ron Tucker came to watch the soccer game and have some dinner at the food trucks. He and his friends were supporting Team USA. He said soccer was a unique sport because…
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