Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Talking soccer

A few weeks ago, Andrea was featured on This is American Soccer.

Now, it's my turn. It's a strange feeling being the one on the other end, the one being interviewed, the one whose thoughts are prodded.

It's there now and if you care to read it, just click the link. It's not quite as personal as Andrea's interview but I give plenty of my opinions on MLS, Mexican-Americans, Chivas USA and the Galaxy.

Anyway, thanks to TIAS and David Keyes (who runs Culture of Soccer and did the interview) for seeking me out.

11 comments:

Gil Hndez said...

Luis,

I've be an occasional reader to your blog. Coming from a Mexican-American background myself, I can relate to many of the issues and view points that you cover on your blog.

I wanted to comment on the recent interview of you gave for TIAS and David Keyes.

I think you "hit the nail on the head" when you said the following:

>I think of the youth academy that >Chivas has set up. I think if >they go out and target Hispanic >communities. That’s an area where >they could pull in fans, not just >for the short term but for the >long term. I think they need to >target more Mexican-Americans >than Mexicans.

Being that I am involved with one of the official Chivas Academy here in the Central Valley. Mexican people just here the "Chivas" name and you get there interest. You talk to them about personally knowing Leonardo Cuellar (MWNT Coach) or Jesus "Chucho" Ramirez (MWNT Coach) and you really get their interest. Claudio Suarez, Ramon Ramirez, etc are household names. So when people hear that in some way you are a part of the Chivas organization they want to join.


>But I think it’s mostly >financial. The clubs have to >consider that. It takes work, >combing local fields for the next >hidden talent. It’s hard and >that’s why I think they go to >more established soccer leagues >like California South. A lot of >the kids there are Anglos, >whites. It’s easier there because >it’s more established. So the >Galaxy has a scout, they’re going >to go there because that’s how >it’s always been done.

GREAT POINT! I think the US is missing out on alot of talent because of this! Having been thru a childhood where I had to pick grapes and oranges on weekends and sometimes on weekday evenings, I can honest say there was no room for soccer. The priorities here in the Central Valley are very different than in the LA area or any other metropolitian area.

Lets just take into account the Cal South/CSL clubs that charge an arm and a leg to play on their teams. How can families afford those fees with what they make here. I have seen it to many times where the Mexican-American player can't afford to play, so they end up playing in the Mexican "pirata" youth and adult leagues. No affiliation to any organization like CYSA, US Club, etc.

Which brings me to our case. If you think you have it bad in the LA area we have it worst here in the Central Valley. We live in one of the poorest county of California (Tulare County) which produces most of the fruits and vegatables which everyone else in the United States enjoy. I haven't currently seen the population and demographic studies of the area but my guess would be that we are 60-40 here and it is leaning more for the miniorites side. We have towns here in the Valley that if you were to walk the street you won't hear a word of English being spoken. Alot of the Mexican people who live here work 7am-5pm picking grapes, oranges, lemons, etc for minimum wages. On top of all this add the fact that we have one of the highest poverty, dropout, pregnancy, crime per capita, pollution rate in the state and in many cases in the US. And lets not talk about our schools and how they rank when you compare then to other schools in the state.

So as you can see playing soccer at the club level here is really a luxury and for some just a dream because they can't afford to. There is lot of talent in the Mexican youth "pirata" leagues but unfornuately that is as far as their soccer career goes.

For that exact reason we decided to become a Chivas academy. We wanted to make sure that the mexican-american players had chance to play club soccer and at the same time be able to expose them to that atomsphere. For those who have the talent be able to expose them not only to Chivas USA and Chivas Guadalajara but to other Mexican professional soccer teams, national teams both here in the States and in Mexico.

Unfornuately in order to be seen by any US national youth scout you have to be on a winning and well known club which just happen to be the ones that charge the $$$ (Real So Cal, ISC, LAFC, Arsenal FC, So Cal Blues, Nomads, Surf) and the list goes on. And usually these scouts only attend tournaments which have fees at least $500 and up. How can I ask a parent who just earned $60 working in the 100+ heat, all day long to give up some of that money. It is not going to happen and unfornuately there is not a rush of US national youth scouts to go see them play there because they are to busy going to Showcase tournaments or Development Academy Showcases that are attended by those club who charge $$$$ to play.

So what ends up happening is the kid with talent never gets seen and ends up playing in the "pirata" league all his life. Very unfornuate..

And just to "add salt to the womb" you want to get help for fields from the city governments and they are always tied up doing other projects which involve the "American" sports football, basketball and baseball. You let them know about the US Soccer Foundation and their annual grants and they said ahead of your we still have to build these other fields.

We have been very fornuate to have met a bunch of soccer. Unfornuately most of them our part of Mexican national or professional teams. For some reason they have been more receptive and more open to giving kids a trial. To mention a few Leonardo Cuellar (MWNT), Jesus "Chucho Ramirez (MMNT), Jaime Parajito (Chivas Guad.), Jose Luis Real (Chivas Guad.), Vinicio Bravo (America), Cristobal Ortega (America), Jesus Paredes (San Luis) and not to exclude are great buddy from Dennis Te Kloese (Chivas USA) and Sasha der Most (Chivas USA).

Anyways, in ending I would like to praise you and thank you for expressing your points of views and for being involved with the Mexican-American soccer crowd. I believe you can be very influencial in openning up some eyes to soccer people about the reality of the Mexican American soccer player who is being missed completely by the so called "radar".

If you are interested and want to know more about our organization please visit: www.chivassouthvalley.com or email us at chivasacademy@hotmail.com

Have a look at some of our members (Amber and Alexis Hernandez) being showcased on the Chivas USA website http://web.mlsnet.com/t120/youth/news/ and http://web.mlsnet.com/news/team_news.jsp?ymd=20080227&content_id=140778&vkey=news_cdc&fext=.jsp&team=t120

Thank you again y
ARRIBA LAS CHIVAS!

A.C. said...

I think the class issues definitely play a part - I wonder for example, what's the best way to integrate African-American talent. While many Latinos have a deep love for the game, African-Americans don't necessarily have that history. How many Cobi Jones or Eddie Johnsons are being missed because they're simply not introduced to the game?
Perhaps the Galaxy, with two coaches with African roots in charge, can push the youth development of their team in the direction of more outreach there. The team, as does Chivas USA, plays and trains in a community with a significant African-American population.

Dan Loney said...

Hey, good job blowing the lid off the Galaxy's white supremacy!

Fucking asshole.

A.C. said...

Wow, what a horrible, extreme and negative reaction to another person's valid viewpoint. It actually lends credibility to the assertion that it supposedly denies.

Anonymous said...

"salt to the womb" EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW that must hurt... just kidding . excellent point Gil

Anonymous said...

While I don't necessarily agree with the way it was said previously on this post, I have to worry about the non-white involving implicit racism in positting that the Galaxy are the "white" LA team just because they don't have a ton of hispanics. Last I checked, an LA starting lineup could be comprised of Alvaro, Edson Buddle, Carlos Ruiz, Mike Randolph, Abel Xavier and Troy Roberts. That's 6 out of 11. Not to mention I expect Sean Franklin, McDonald, Sesay (who I believe is not causasian) and Valentin (though I am not sure of his nationality) could get some quality time.

How that could possibly be conceived of as a "white" team is completely and utterly beyond me. Pretty clear case of some personal biases combined with the two big names not being hispanic enough for you.

L.B. said...

Yeah, I'm aware there are plenty of non-white players on the Galaxy. Actually, I've interviewed quite a bit of them.

I was merely thinking about the fan base and how it might evolve. And if someone from the outside brings it up, then it seems the perception is there, which is what I said in the first place.

And I just am puzzled about these biases. I mean, you don't even know me. How can you say I am biased towards anything?

Thanks for not calling me names, though. It's good to see some people can have civil discussions with someone from whom they have a differing viewpoint.

David Keyes said...

Since I am the one who originally made the suggestion that perhaps the Galaxy are becoming the "white" team, I feel I should comment here. I was not referring to the players on the team itself so much as the aura that surrounds it. I was wondering if the Galaxy is becoming identified as the team that goes after the suburban soccer mom crowd, which, in the public imagination at least, is almost always white. If I were asking the question again, I would perhaps put it as the Galaxy becoming identified as the "American" team versus Chivas becoming identified as the "Mexican" team, but that's more a matter of accuracy in word choice than any kind of ideological difference from what I actually said.

Anonymous said...

"And I just am puzzled about these biases. I mean, you don't even know me. How can you say I am biased towards anything?"

That's the price of profferring your opinions for consumption by the general public isn't it? You expressed an opinion and that's how we judge your personal biases. If you don't think your proper views are reflected by the inferences we make in reading your material at least part of the blame lies with you for a lack of clarity.

Given David Keyes' post below I can see a difference between LA the suburban white fan base and Chivas the hispanic urban fan base v. the composition of the teams themselves. That being said, that clearly did not come through in the piece in question (to at leat some of us) and I'm not sure you have a right to get real defensive about that. Very few people to blame for that lack of clarity.

A.C. said...

There's getting confused (which is the perfect time to ask for clarification) and then there's jumping to conclusions and moving past that to aggressive name-calling.

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