World Cup week is upon us. As a huge soccer fan I'm still in the anger stage of processing my grief that the US team did not qualify. The only saving grace to me is that I do finally believe we are developing talent and the fact that much of our young talent is already playing in Europe bodes well for the future.
I will watch every World Cup match I can still as I always have, but it definitely sucks that our team isn't playing in it.
I'm a big Grant Wahl fan. He's the main soccer reporter for Sports Illustrated and he's of the mindset that Mexico is America's other team because they play so many games north of the border and there are so many Mexican-Americans. Is he right? Should you root for Mexico in the World Cup?
At the risk of sounding like the person who tries to prove they aren't racist by telling you that they have a black friend, I have many Mexican friends who I love. I love the country Mexico and have been there on many vacations. The people are amazing and I am against everything Donald Trump says about them and his racist policies toward them.
But I would never root for Mexico to win any soccer game. And the reason is the same as why I wouldn't root for the Packers in the playoffs or the Cardinals in the World Series or in any game. They are our big rivals. In our part of the world it's been us and them with Costa Rica tagging along lately. Can you imagine rooting for the Packers because a lot of Wisconsin people now live in Chicago? No way!
It's the same with Mexico. I'm glad that there are a lot of Mexican-Americans. I hope we add more. I've been to four US vs. Mexico games (all for 2-0 in favor of the US, all in Columbus) and the fans I met were great. That's no different than me getting along with co-workers who root for the Pack or Cardinals or Cavaliers. Having friends and liking their fans personally doesn't change the fact that I hope their team gets destroyed. Can you imagine telling a Michigan fan that they should root for Ohio State or a Duke fan to root for North Carolina??? It would never happen and this is no different.
Rivalries in sports are trivial, childish and awesome. At games in Mexico their fans throw bags of urine and batteries at our players. If you attend a game in Mexico City with a US jersey on you will need security. I wouldn't have it any other way.
You can love a country, but hate their sports team and it can make total sense. I'm not rooting for Mexico in the World Cup. I'm hoping they lose every game badly. And if you are a US Soccer fan you should root against them too.