Everyone following the World Cup has had to see at least one stupid American talking about how US Soccer supporters should support Mexico in the World Cup. Maybe it’s the Sports Illustrated cover declaring Mexico ‘America’s second team.’ Maybe it’s Landon Donovan’s Wells Fargo ad that shows him holding a scarf reading ‘My other team is Mexico.’
Whether it’s an ad from an American company that sponsors Mexico or a dumb think piece about why Americans should support CONCACAF, US Soccer supporters’ blood should boil. How would New York Jets fans react if whoever the hell their quarterback is suggested they root for the New England Patriots when the Pats inevitably make the playoffs and the Jets don’t? Would that awful quarterback get traded immediately? I hope so.
Quick aside- I will concede that this piece by Washington Post columnist Kevin Blackistone is spot on geopolitically, just not from a soccer mindset.
The US and Mexico are soccer rivals. Supporters from both sides are supposed to hate each other for 90 minutes twice every qualification cycle, occasionally during the Gold Cup, and whenever SUM needs a cash influx and sets up a friendly between the two. I sincerely hope that Mexico loses every game they play 3-0, except when they play the US. I desperately want those games to end dos a cero. This is the same way I look at Arizona State, the Dodgers, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders… It’s a sign of respect to hate a team. It shows fear of an opponent. It shows that a fan base sees the other team as a team of equal skill, and a major roadblock towards that team’s goal, whether it be a divisional title or reign over a region (lol at us cocky US Supporters).
What makes the US/Mexico rivalry different is the fact that America is a transplant country. The only people indigenous to America have been hidden on out-of-the-way reservations and largely excluded from society. Additionally, a great deal of those transplants are of Mexican descent. According to Wikipedia, Mexican Americans made up 11.2% of the American population as of June 2016. A freaking lot of those Mexican Americans support Mexico in international football, rather than their home country of America. Holy Lord, that reflects poorly upon the USSF.
Sports fans cheer for those who reflect themselves. That being said, Mexican Americans don’t root for the USSF because the USSF IS SO DAMN WHITE. By and large, most US men’s and women’s stars have been white. Most coaches have been and are white. Scouts scout and develop majority white players. Equal representation is a driving force in nearly every industry, whether it be the tech industry, in government, or in the media for women and minority races and sexual orientations. Hell, that was even a motif in Incredibles 2. There needs to be equal representation in USSF. That’s not to say that there should be quotas for players of each *check the box* on every roster, but the front office of USSF needs to be much less homogeneous.
The Landon Donovan/Sports Illustrated Mexico love fest shouldn’t even be an issue. It should be shunned. Americans should unequivocally support the Mexican people and government while simultaneously passionately hate El Trí. That’s a dream scenario, though. That’ll only happen if Mexican Americans stop supporting El Trí in favor of the Stars and Stripes (damn we need a good nickname), and the onus is on America to give Mexican Americans a reason to root for the US. Mexican Americans need to see themselves within their country’s soccer federation.