Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mexican soccer

photo of Rafael Marquez via

Now that the chances of Roma competing in the Champions' League next year are almost nil -- there are two matches left in the season, and they are two places down from where they need to finish to qualify -- I can turn my attention to Mexican soccer.

Oaxaca has a team called the Chapulineros (Little Grasshoppers). Since their founding in 1983, they have been in the Tercera Division, the Segunda Division, and even the Liga de Ascenso, but never in the Primera Division unlike their neighbors to the south in Chiapas.

I know someone who passionately loves a team called the "Saints" should be the last one to make fun of another team's moniker, but a change of name might be in order for our boys from Oaxaca. Chiapas are called the Jaguares which you have to admit sounds much fiercer. How about Tigers? Pumas? Eagles? Even Gophers or Goats? Nope, these mascots are all taken. As are the following (I kid you not): Cement Workers (Cruz Azul), Sweet Potato Farmers (Puebla), and, my particular favorite, Prickly Pear Farmers (San Luis Potosi). Yep, I guess we'll stick with the Little Grasshoppers.

I'm not sure which of these First Division teams Oaxaca follows. The closest looks like Chiapas, but they could be rivals as well. Toluca and Puebla are both close enough to be possibilities. And there may be a team like the New York Yankees that everyone in the country follows, but I don't know which one it would be. But if you'd like to familiarize yourself with Mexico's top teams and their mascots and uniforms, this handy map could be very helpful.

And in soccer personality news, today's New York Times sports section has an article about Rafael Marquez, the captain of Mexico's national team who now plays in the USA. He talks about his his life in New York City since he's joined the Red Bulls and discusses his desire to play for Mexico's national team in the 2014 World Cup when he will be 35 years old.

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