EDGAR ZUNIGA - Friday, April 23, 2010
Wait...what is Mexico doing in the middle of the United States?
A quick geography lesson for ya: The official name of our neighbor to the south is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. This is ironic, considering how much Mexican soccer fans despise los Estados Unidos.
If you were to ask any Mexican how they feel about sharing a border with the US, they will attest that being located next to the US is both a blessing and a curse.
The politics of US-Mexico relations fuel alot of the hatred involved in the soccer rivalry. However, you have to remember that there always exists a thin line between love and hate.
And, when you start talking dollars, Mexicans change their tone. They love our dollars.
Hold on, we're not talking politics here. This is about a topic that has been simmering for quite a few years and is beginning to reach the boiling point as more US soccer fans become educated about the game and start paying attention to how other nations deal with their arch-rivals.
As you read this, Mexico is looking forward to playing several World Cup warm-up games on American soil.
Having already played games against Bolivia, New Zealand and Iceland in various American cities, Mexico also has games booked against Ecuador (Meadowlands), Senegal (Chicago) and an opponent yet to be determined (Houston).
Wherever you live in the US, sooner or later, during 2010, the Mexican team will play somewhere near you.
While it's interesting to see Mexico try to pull off their insane pre-World Cup schedule (which includes games in Europe) without crashing and burning out in the process, can you guess how many, out of 12 games, they're going to be playing at home?
Six? Four? How about two? Yes, two.
In fact, while Mexico scheduled only two games at home, they're slyly making themselves a home away from home in the US, playing six to seven matches.
Why won't Mexico play international opponents in the filth and smog of Azteca? Maybe those other teams realized what a dump it is and rejected the offer.
But what about the many other suitable stadiums across Mexico? There are a couple of really nice stadiums in Pachuca and Guadalajara.
But you know what? It really has nothing to do with the stadiums.
What do Mexicans love most about the US? In the words of Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man, "Cash rules everything around me. C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dollar dollar bill y'all."
That's right, it all boils down to money.
Why the hell is Mexico, our arch-rival, allowed to play wherever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want and rake in dollar bills to benefit the Mexican Football Federation (FMF)?
The FMF knows that there are millions of Mexicans living in the US and so, depending on where they play, they'll attract large crowds and be pulling in dollars instead of pesos.
It's interesting to note that the peso was the first currency in the world to use the "$" sign, which the US dollar later adopted for its own use when the US adopted the peso as currency during the period before adopting the dollar.
There's some sick irony in all this.
History lessons aside, all this makes you wonder about the relationship between the US Soccer Federation (USSF) and the FMF and why they're letting the Mexican team have the run of the land.
If you call yourself a US soccer fan and have a pulse, by this point, you should be visibly upset. Seriously, you should be angry.
How much is the USSF making out of this arrangement? What's their cut?
Do you think that the English FA would ever allow the German National Team to play friendlies all over England? What if Argentina's AFA let Brazil do the same?
For those new to soccer, this is unconceivable. Mexico playing friendlies in the US is equivalent to Ohio State University playing most of their football games in Michigan Stadium or the San Francisco Giants playing their home games at Dodger Stadium. That just doesn't happen.
If it does, it's a clear sign that the Apocalypse is upon us.
When the hell has the US ever played an exhibition game in Mexico against someone other than Mexico for the purpose of making some pesos? Never!
Not only would the Mexican fans be furious but they'd make the US feel as unwelcome as possible. You can be sure that Mexican fans would bash the FMF and question their actions.
It's also sad that the Mexican team is playing more games on American soil than the US. While Mexico enjoys their farewell tour, the US has just one more game scheduled at home before the World Cup.
Now, I can already hear the arguments in support of letting Mexico play in the US. Do they sell out the stadiums? Not entirely, but they draw more fans than the US does (which is embarrassing).
Do their fans bring in alot of revenue to the stadiums and surrounding businesses? For the most part, yes.
Is seeing Mexico play this much on American soil giving Team USA an opportunity to scout Mexico? Yeah, you can say that.
I can also hear some people out there saying that this whole argument against Mexico is adolescent and are probably asking what the big deal is with letting them play here. It's just business, right?
I can only speak for myself when I say that there is no way I'm accepting money from my worst enemy to let him come into my house and use it to throw a party with all of his best friends and make a profit out of it.
That just ain't right, folks.
It's time for US fans to stop being so gosh darn nice and become more vocal about these sort of things.
We're not talking about some insane rebellion with torches and pitchforks in front of USSF headquarters (located on Prairie Avenue, in Chicago), but there needs to be an uprising.
Fans need to let the USSF know how they feel about the Federation allowing Mexico to play "home" games on our soil and tread on our fields like they were theirs. It simply isn't acceptable!
And, in case you need a rallying cry, just remember the motto of our national team.
Don't Tread On Me.