I was wondering why some of my Latino/a students were absent from class on Wednesday. Now I know why? They attended the Mexico v.s. China soccer match in Seattle. According to the Seattle Times there were 56,415 fans at Qwest Field cheering on their homeland team, but the loudest and most passionate were Mexico’s fans. As the China team coach put it, “I think the public for Mexico is like a 12th player. So I think they got very motivated.” Supporting Mexico’s national team becomes a way for many immigrants to “imagine” their homeland and show off their national pride, and because they are farther removed from the border (tucked away in the pacific northwest corner), the match took on a greater importance. I wonder whether large number of Latino fans who attended the match caught the attention of Major League Soccer and Seattle Sounders officials. To date there is no Latino player in the Seatle Sounders roster. Does this matter? Perhaps not since the love of soccer will attract fans of any culture. But I think having some Mexican players in the Sounders, especially star players from the Mexico soccer league team, will draw more attention among Latino fans. While its not clear what the future holds for soccer in Seattle, one thing was made clear and visible on Wednesday April 16, and that is Seattle became “Mexican Seattle” for one day.
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