20 May 2012

Los Angeles native and a soccer fan

Danny Califf and Landon Donovan during the SuperClasico on 5/19/12 in Carson, CA. 
Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
I often wonder how people decide which teams to support when their choice has nothing to do with their hometown or current residence. Do they pick the team at the top of the standings and join the bandwagon? Maybe they choose the one with the best player. I don't know, but I find it odd how passionate someone from Los Angeles can be about a New England football team. You can't know real passion until your in the stands being part of the 80% attending in support for you team. But of course I'm bias.

I'm a soccer fan more than I am a fan of any other sport. It's hard to be in the US and be a soccer fan, because people just don't get the sport. It's also hard to be an MLS fan in the US, because everyone who considers themselves a 'true' fan of soccer think that the MLS is a joke. I really wish those snobs put their money where their mouth is and spent a match in the middle of a supporter group at their local stadium and realize how amazing the game is. That's how I spent my first Galaxy match. That's how I fell in love with the team.

I have always heard of Galaxy, because I've always been a fan of soccer. I remember playing FIFA Soccer on N64 as a kid and using Galaxy, because they had Cobi Jones, and he's a fantastic player. I was pretty young at the time, and my heart wasn't in the sport as it is now. But I knew Galaxy had a history in Los Angeles and that was good for me.

The first Galaxy match I witnessed at the Home Depot Center was 2 years ago, and it was actually the first match of the L.A. Derby/ Honda SuperClasico. Galaxy beat the Chivas at the Chivas own home game. I thought it was stupid that there two teams shared a stadium, and I didn't think of ChivasUSA as a Los Angeles team, but a Mexican team since they are owned by the same owner as Chivas Guadalajara. Every time I watch then play and realize they have more Caucasians than Latinos on their team, it makes me laugh.

So, sometimes I'm asked, why Galaxy and not Chivas? I usually do the whole well Galaxy was here first bit. I also sometimes equate Galaxy to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chivas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But at least the Chivas stadium is in Los Angeles county; the Angels, on the other hand, reside in Anaheim which is a part of Orange County not LA County.

But I slowly begin to learn more and more about the Chivas and I wonder if I chose the wrong team. The Chivas actually hosted an equality night at one of their home games where part of the proceeds when to the LAGLC, which is really awesome. There is so much homophobia (and racism) in soccer that this is a really great step. Of course, they took their tolerance a step further and some of their players posed for NO H8 the night of event.

And as I watched the first match of the 2012 L.A. Derby where the Chivas defeated my L.A. Galaxy 1-0, I saw something in the supporters group. I saw an El Salvador flag flying proud. My heart sank a little, because I am Salvadoran. In case you didn't know, I'm Salvadoran. So, I googled, and apparently there is a player on ChivasUSA from El Salvador. Also, he's not the first, but the only current player.

So, I started questioning whether I'm supporting the right LA team. They're LGBT allies that often have Salvadoran players. They've even done events at my local mall. Does Galaxy's history as an LA team really reign all? But I'm not a turncoat. Since I saw my first live LA Galaxy match, I knew I had made the right choice. They have an incredible team that may not be doing their best, but their boys are my boys. Win or Lose I will always be Galaxy. Donovan, Magee, Beckham, and Keane are my players and my loves. I wouldn't have it any other way. Galaxy until I die.

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