Why Chivas playing soccer on Oklahoma soil is such a big deal

The franchise is among the most famous brands in all of sports, its popularity born out of a storied tradition rich with championships seasons and beloved players and revered coaches.

Even though it’s in the midst of a title drought, some consider it the team of a nation.

For soccer lovers, no introduction is necessary. The red and white of Chivas are well known around the soccer world. The Guadalajara based club with the blue star framed crest has been a stalwart in Mexico’s top league, Liga MX,Cheap Jerseys free shipping since its creation seven decades ago.

But if soccer isn’t your thing and since it’s still an emerging sport in our fair state, you likely fall into this category Chivas probably sounds as foreign as Juventus or Monchengladbach.

(I promise, those are professional soccer clubs, too.)

But the fact that Chivas is coming to Oklahoma City to face the Energy in an international friendly that’s fancy soccerese for an exhibition match is a big deal. It’d be like the Yankees or Cardinals coming to town. Or the Red Wings. Or the Cowboys.

Remember the first time the Lakers darkened our doorway after we became an NBA city? Or the Celtics? Or the Knicks? Remember how cool it was to see guys in those jerseys playing in the 405 area code? So many legends had worn those colors before, and so many teams that came before them had won titles.

No two ways around it, it was just super cool to see them on Oklahoma soil. «Chivas is a team that gained popular appeal and even though it’s not located in the nation’s capital, kind of became ‘Mexico’s team’.»

Davis points to several reasons for that.

Longevity: Chivas has been in existence for 110 years. It began before a pro soccer league even existed in the country.

Success: Whether as an amateur club in its early years or as a professional club in the top league, Chivas has won. It has 13 amateur titles and 11 first division crowns.

What’s more, it has never been relegated to the second division. Relegation is a soccer phenomenon whereby teams performing poorly over several seasons are bumped down to lower divisions. It happens to even the best of clubs. England’s pro league is particularly popular among soccer fans in the United States with legions cheering on Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal among others, but The Guardian newspaper reported last year that there are «no English clubs currently in existence that have never been relegated from the country’s top division.»

Tradition: Chivas has a long standing policy of only signing and using Mexican players. It began only a couple years after the founding of the club when its leaders decided to respond to a growing sense of oppression among Mexican nationals brought on by non Mexicans in the country.

Those feelings in the country changed, and every other club in Liga MX now has a steady diet of Argentines, Brazilians, Chileans and on and on. «A few might say that’s nationalistic or anti immigrant or whatever, and I supposed you could make that case. But clearly, there are lots of Mexican soccer fans who embrace it because Chivas is quite clearly one of the country’s most popular sides.»

To wit, when Chivas and Club America play, it is dubbed «El Super Clasico.»

Club America has a huge following because it’s been around nearly a century in Mexico City. With nearly 9 million people in the city, the team has a huge pool from which to draw fans.

But Chivas is every bit as popular despite being from a city of only 1.5 million. That’s due in large part to its Mexican only policy. It endeared fans near and far to the club.

You could call it a pseudo national team.

In recent years, however, some believe the club’s self imposed restriction has hurt performance. Even though Mexico is a soccer rich nation, Chivas is drawing talent from a much smaller pool than its competition. It’d be a little like the Thunder deciding it was only going to draft and sign players who had been born in the United States.

Chivas hasn’t won a title in Liga MX play since 2006, even flirting with relegation a few years back.

But despite that, the club’s popularity remains high. An annual poll indicates that anywhere between 18 percent and 25 percent of all Mexican soccer fans are Chivas fans. That’s an insanely high number.

Imagine that in American sports.

What if a fifth of all college football fans were fans of Alabama or Clemson? Or a quarter of all NBA fans were fans of Cleveland or Golden State? It’s hard to wrap your head around that level of popularity.

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