Uncle Sam’s greed is killing Mexican football

Ed Angeli

America and Mexico is currently a hot topic thanks to one very ignorant person; the man, the myth, the plonker that is Donald Trump and his ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. As well as the supposed building of this infamous wall.

Away from the USA-Mexico political relationship, America is stagnating the development of the Mexican football team. How? By causing complacency and comfort for the players. As the saying goes: ‘you can’t have growth and comfort’, and that couldn’t be more applicable to the Mexican national team.

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The problem? Mexico is too reliant on playing games in-front of their crowds, infront of their own support; comfort. Not in Mexico, though, in the US. El Tri continue to have home games on US soil – where a lot of their fans are – and are therefore struggling when it comes to away games. The Mexicans are used to playing the odd friendly here and there in front of crowds largely filled by passionate fans in the US.

Just look at the game most recently against Iceland, a game in Las Vegas; one word – commercialisation. Sure, Iceland are a better footballing nation than England, but hardly an A-list fixture. How much were the tickets going for? $100. $100 to watch Mexico play Iceland. 22,000 were sold, which just goes to show the high level of demand there was.

Who’s benefiting here? Uncle Sam’s pocket, which is no surprise, always has been when it comes to the Mexicans. Exploiting both the work load and their passion for football. The Mexicans are struggling to host games in their own nation, but those lucky enough fans who live in America are willing to pay the overpriced fees.

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This sort of exploitation is costing the national side. Rarely do they play games away from America and their fans. Rarely do they go to the likes of South America or Europe. They’ve only experienced success in one international tournament – Confederations Cup, 1999 – where was this? Mexico. They’ve got the talent, they’ve just not got the right footballing model to progress. The likes of Rafael Márquez and Javier Hernandez suggests they should/should’ve been more competitive. They haven’t. The financial reward for Uncle Sam has suffocated them.

Let the Mexican side spread its wings by experiencing proper international games, the Americans need to leave the Mexicans be, sure it makes sense from a Mexican point of view financially as well, filling out stadiums with their green colours, but a European trip would benefit the national side, benefit the players who go to the big tournaments away from their support.

Let them go, Uncle Sam, your own president is willing to.

Mexico have some legends with over 100 caps, check out the surprising list of other players who have reached the milestone!