U.S. soccer versus the Mexican soccer team, it’s a historic rivalry between two countries vying for soccer dominance in North America, while trying to prove themselves on a global scale. As a fan of soccer, this rivalry takes an interesting twist for me and many first generation Americans.
I grew up rooting for Mexico as my family did -- they're U.S. citizens, gotta throw that out there nowadays -- mostly because Mexico dominated the U.S. in the 90's and soccer was an afterthought in the states. Things changed in the 2000's with soccer growing in popularity and the U.S. men's team becoming more competitive. I also served in the Air Force so I had to make the U.S. my No. 1 team.
I started rooting for the USA even when they played against Mexico, defying my family (although I still root for Mexico as long as they’re not playing against the USA).
It’s an interesting position to be in, rooting for your most hated rival when they’re not playing against your team. You wouldn’t find a USC fan rooting for UCLA, but that’s what makes the USA vs Mexico rivalry great. It’s a struggle many of my friends face as well. I have friends who are like me and also the opposite of me, rooting for the USA unless they’re playing Mexico. We join together to root for USA or Mexico when they’re playing other teams, but it’s another story when it’s USA vs Mexico.
The good thing about having two teams is you have two teams to root for in the World Cup, although both teams usually don’t make it very far. Still, you have to believe, which is a common theme for both countries.
One thing I learned through this game is that we can have respect for people of other countries and that you can embrace the USA while still being true to your culture.
The rivalry was renewed this summer with the USA playing Mexico to a 1-1 draw in Mexico city in a World Cup qualifying match. It appeared as though the two were headed for yet another clash at the Gold Cup championship, but Jamaica had other plans, pulling off a stunning victory over Mexico in the semifinals.
So until the U.S. and Mexico meet again, I’ll be joining my friends and family in “I Believe” and “Si Se Puede” chants.