As a lifetime fútbol fan changes in this sport can be kinda challenging. Sometimes they’re great, but other times it’s hard to embrace them. The way I experience and live fútbol has totally changed recently, due to the COVID quarantine, the attention that fútbol it’s getting from mainstream culture and now we have the streaming experience which I think will change it all.
My dad was a professional fútbol player, then coach in formative centers with kids in vulnerable situations. Later on he became a coach assistant in different professional teams in México. So I was always been near fútbol and it always has been an important element in my life. Although I didn’t play fútbol as a child, as perhaps expected, I was always drawn to the way fans experienced it.
I have many childhood memories of the stadium atmosphere, the food outside, the cheers, and the overwhelming passion inside the stadium.
This led my attention to focus more on how fútbol is experienced from the stands rather than what happens on the field.
In my adolescence, I became part of a supporter group in which I was involved and led for many years. Thanks to this, I made friends, discovered many places, but above all, I learned many life lessons. Perhaps this is why fútbol interests me from a socio-cultural perspective. I always wanted to know about other leagues far from Mexico, to see through the screen the atmosphere in the stands, to hear the chants of the fans in Brazil, see the banners of Argentina, and the fashion of English fans.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to experience the MLS All-Star Week in Washington, D.C.
The MLS stars would face the English team Arsenal. While there I was able to witness an MLS team training session and be close to some players I admire like Jesús Ferreira and Thiago Almada. Personally, I had never visited a fútbol stadium in the United States before, and it was a completely different experience for me.
I even had the opportunity to go down to the field; the Skills Challenge was very entertaining, although it wasn’t about scoring goals and rather the excitement of seeing which player had the best skills was thrilling.
Then came the day of the MLS All-Star team vs Arsenal match.
The fútbol atmosphere was already palpable outside the stadium early in the morning. I was fascinated to see the Latine community playing a big part in this event. They’re an essential element that adds so much to the fútbol environment and culture in the U.S. from the fans (obviously) to the street food and bootleg jerseys vendors, and of course the incredible players.
The game was remarkable and different in the way that I didn’t have a specific team to cheer for but I had a good time. And ot was an incredible way to end the week.
When I get back home, I rewatched the game. And it was interesting that it was such a different experience but just as entertaining as actually being at the stadium, getting data in real time, hearing the commentators, and having a glimpse of the roar of the fans. Fútbol has always been experienced through screens but I think that we are entering a new era where the way we see fútbol of faraway leagues will feel so close thanks to the tech we now have available today.
Specifically now that the Leagues Cup is happening between Mexican and MLS teams, I find interesting the synergy between Apple and the MLS. You can get into the AppleTV app and you can watch several games or replays at the same time with ease. That’s especially helpful for someone like me that I doesn’t follow that much MLS teams but wants to learn, connect, and experience the sport I’ve loved since I was a kid in new ways.