On Saturday August 13 I watched the Rayados play Atlas in Monterrey Mexico. I am a Chicago Cubs fan. I was told that being a Rayados fan is much like being a Chicago Cubs fan. I am fortunate enough to live in a midwest town with a large hispanic population. Our basic cable service includes several spanish channels and I see Mexican Futbol (Soccer) on tv frequently. The ethusiasm of the fans is very commendable. I was very excited about having the opportunity to go to a game while I was on a business trip to Monterrey. I wanted to take a few minutes to write about my observations of Mexican League Futbol (Soccer).
Rayados means stripes in English. The teams official name is Monterrey. They get the nickname Rayados from the stripes that are on their team jerseys. Their stadium is a rented football (American Football) stadium that belongs to the Technological University of Monterrey. The stadium is very close to saddleback mountain which provides a beautiful backdrop for most of the seats in the stadium. The stadium is very modest (by American pro sports standards) and can hold approximately 35000 people. Most of the seats are bleachers. The stadium is small enough that every seat will have a good view of the field.
We arrived about 30 minutes early. The pre-game show consisted of cheerleaders dancing on the track to Mariachi music blaring out of speakers set up on the grass between the track that surrounds the field and the beginning of the seats. Atlas took the field to warm up about 20 minutes early. They were booed by the Rayados fans. The Rayados took the field immediately after to cheering fans. There were 3 officials for the game that took the field to warm up also.
The game started with what appeared to be the team captains shaking hands with the officials and each other. The game was scheduled to start at 1700, and I believe it started at 1700 on the dot.
What struck me the most about the game was the lack of commercialization. Yes the teams jerseys are covered with their sponsors, and yes the field is lined with some very unintrusive signage that changes throughout the game, but there were no giant displays flashing adds and there was no giant sound system to blare adds at you.
The second thing that I noticed was the closeness you have to the field and the game. I estimate that we were approximately 30 ft. from the field. It was easy to watch what was going on with the game until the action got over on to the other side of the field. Then it was a little difficult to see everything.
Each team is allowed to have one member of the coaching staff standing on the field. Neither coach wore wireless headgear or used a 2 way radio of any type. I found this refreshing. Keeping it simple. Compare this to American football where the sidelines contain somewhere around 50 members of the coaching staff and analysts wearing wireless headsets. So ridiculous.
The halftime show consisted of volunteers trying to run a gauntlet of lasso wielding cowboys for a cash prize of about $200. None of the runners were able to make it through the gauntlet due to one very talented cowboy. He stopped approximately 75% of the runners.
Futbol is a fast game. If you take your eyes off of the action for a second, it is very likely that you will miss something.
The thing that I liked best about the game was the pureness of it. It was just pure, unadulterated sport played by some of the most talented athletes in the world.