Mexican Gold is a Beautiful Thing


Mexican Gold is a Beautiful Thing

By Jose M. Romero

Like many others on both sides of the border – I live closer to Mexico now than ever before – I woke up early and turned on Telemundo to watch Mexico play Brazil in the Olympic men’s soccer final.

This was just icing on the cake. I’d figured Mexico for a bronze at best, with Brazil and Spain certain to go 1-2 in Britain.

Many of you who have read my work in the past probably gathered that I am a fan of the Mexican national team and many things Mexico, though I am as gringo American as apple pie, born in the States at least three generations removed from “the old country” (Mexico) with only my name to let others know that I am of a different ethnic background.

I drew a little criticism in my days covering the Seattle Sounders for a couple of unabashed expressions of Mexican fandom. That’s OK. It’s a free country. I root for U.S. soccer in every competition except for when it plays Mexico.

I won’t stand on any soapbox and rub an Olympic gold for my team in the face of USMNT supporters. I will only say that Sunday’s gold medal for Mexico made me feel very proud of my Mexican roots. It gave me reason to celebrate being a Chicano (Mexican American with a little political/sociological kick to it). It gave me hope for a long run through the 2014 World Cup in Brazil for El Tri. It could end up being the best World Cup in Mexico’s history.

This is the time to be a fan of Mexico. Over the past year or so, the soccer federation has turned out teams that won the U-17 World Cup, finished third in the U-20 World Cup, won the CONCACAF Gold Cup, won a pre-Olympic international tournament in Toulon, France, and now, won Olympic gold. Mexico has reassumed its position as the best team in North America, from senior level to U-17. The senior team is very good, and will only get better with the success of the U-17s, U-20s and U-23s, who won the Olympics.

I guess, given all of this success, I shouldn’t have been so surprised that Mexico beat Brazil Sunday, but I was. Living in Phoenix, I knew I was surrounded by many others who felt as proud as I do.

Let us all remember that Mexico is just an American soccer rival, not one in everyday life. I’m a product of my grandmother’s American dream. And believe me, I was very happy to see the U.S. women win gold and felt sorry for the Canadian women who lost.

I love Mexico soccer, but when CONCACAF does well, it’s good for everyone in our part of the world. I hope many soccer fans can keep this in mind when they see Mexicans and Mexican Americans in their town celebrating a non-American victory.

And think of the youth. This only inspires more boys and girls to play the sport around the country. Mexicans in this country saw Miguel Ponce, an American by birth, get a gold medal Sunday for Mexico. There could come a day when many more USMNT players are of Mexican descent.

That will be a historic, too.

Follow Jose on @RomeroJoseM


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1 Comment

  1. It’s a free country: root for whatever team that suits you. But let me express my opinion, too: I’m disgusted by US citizens who root for the team of their great grandfathers.