Viva Futbol!

On Wednesday, March 28, the national men’s soccer teams of Mexico and Ecuador face off in front of a full house in Oakland. The game is a smashing success in terms of interest generated, selling out two weeks in advance at 47,416 tickets. Organizers say that many more could have been sold (Mt. Davis stays closed as McAfee Coliseum is in its baseball configuration). In Texas the same night, an international friendly between the USA and Guatemala draws a far-below-capacity 10,932 patrons.
So what does all of this have to do with high school sports? Nothing – – well, except for the fact that it underscores everything we see in high school soccer regarding people’s attitudes and passions toward the game.
At some schools – – especially in the well-heeled areas of Lamorinda and along the 680 corridor – – we watch soccer. Yes, much of it is interesting, the fans/parents generally are friendly and supportive, and the teams traditionally have enjoyed much success in postseason play.
But at other schools – – in West Contra Costa County, for instance – – we not only watch soccer, we experience FUTBOL! This involves more than just styles of play. It’s about passion, a fire in the belly, a “hunk-a, hunk-a burnin’ love” for the sport. The futbol experience takes place not only on the field, but in the stands. To borrow from a Latin American song, there’s an Alma, Corazon y Vida, a soul, heart and life, to these events.
Yes, the high school boys soccer season ended weeks ago in these parts. But the events of March 28, drew a parallel and screamed for commentary. When play starts up again, get out to various schools and observe the different leagues. Experience some youth games in a variety of areas to get a fix in the meantime.
Watch soccer. But while you’re at it, also make sure to experience the flaming passion of futbol!