Olympics 2012: In Mexico, kids celebrate soccer gold

Mexico celebrated the national soccer team winning the gold medal Saturday at the Olympics in London.

Here in the Costa Alegre, or Happy Coast, where I am traveling in Mexico, all eyes were on the television as Mexico won its first ever Olympic medal in soccer.

After the game, a group of children went to practice at a local soccer field. Half the boys played in bare feet but this didn't stop them from kicking the ball and scoring goals.

"It's an honor," Fernando Ruiz, 13, said of the gold medal.

The goalie who plays for a youth league said his favorite player is Mexico's goalie, Jose de Jesus Corona.

Corona kept Brazil from scoring in the last minutes of the game.

After the win, Corona, told TV Azteca, the win gives Mexican people hope "in the difficult times that we face."

The gold was good news for Mexico that gets more headlines for the drug war or for sending migrants north of the border.

It was a time of national pride and people shouted "¡Que Viva Mexico!" as they drove down the street. Many wore their green, red or black soccer jerseys around town. Three local police officers took a break to catch the game at the cafe where I watched with fans.

Soccer is the national sport and so popular that at a recent children's party here they had a soccer player piñata.

"It's good for Mexico," said Lorenzo Rodriguez, 12, who also plays in a youth soccer league. "We're celebrating."

He has an aunt who lives in Chicago he told me as we chatted and I took photos.

Mexican soccer fans from Chicago to Los Angeles, from the Costa Alegre to Chiapas, and those who made it all the way to London, celebrated their defeat of Brazil.

Brazil was expected to win but Mexico never gave up hope and won 2 to 1 for the gold.

"We know this isn't going to change the problems of anybody, much less the country," the Mexican coach Luis Fernando Tena told TV Azteca.

But he also said the win is a proud moment for the country "so in need of happiness."

The children at the football field, some as young as three-years-old, kicked the ball around the field. Here they don't even have nets on the goals.

But today everybody saw gold.

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