The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 19, 2014

Many fans of Mexico at World Cup come from US

(Continued)

Many of the soccer fans traveling from the U.S. are part of the last great wave of Mexican migration to the United States, which spanned the 1990s to the mid-2000s. Others are second-generation Mexicans who grew up rooting for the Mexican team at a time when Team USA was still unknown.

Chacon, for one, was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, but grew up and studied in El Paso, Texas. He and two American friends traveled to see Mexico in both Natal and Fortaleza, where the team faced Brazil.

While he speaks Spanish with his friends and with Mexicans he has met during his trip through Brazil, it's not always smooth. "All of a sudden, out comes the Spanglish," he said, such as when he's asked what he does for a living.

"How do you say 'customer service?'" he wondered, before exclaiming with relief, "Soporte al cliente!"

Francisco Trejo and his two sons traveled to Fortaleza from Los Angeles. "As with us, there are many more friends and acquaintances here who have (U.S.) nationality, but the truth is we came to support Mexico completely."

Daniel Hawkins, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who has studied the sociology of sports, said the support for Team Mexico is only natural.

Mexican-Americans, he said, "love the U.S. They would cheer for them, but they have this loyalty to Mexico. It's a cultural thing of identifying with your home culture in addition to being American."

That sentiment was on display by the Dallas chapter of a fan club called Pancho Villa's Army, which formed last year to support the Mexican team. At a beach in Fortaleza in northeast Brazil, members of the group posed with a banner showing the Mexican seal against an outline of the Dallas skyline.

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