Weekly column: Club Tijuana gives MLS competition for fans in Southern California

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Club Tijuana fans cheer on Sunday during a 3-1 home loss to Santos Laguna, but they’re mainly just happy to have a team in the highest echelon of Mexican futbol (Photo courtesy Club Tijuana).

There is no doubt that Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente has aspirations of drawing Americans soccer fans over the border and giving MLS a run for its money in this part of the world.

The effort is in its nascent stages in terms of marketing and reaching out to fans.

I’m told, for instance, that there are chartered buses Southern California residents can take to games; I’ve discovered finding out the details of these trips is a little more challenging (so if anyone knows let me know).

Seeing a game in Tijuana is a completely different cultural experience from one at Home Depot Center – not necessarily better, IMHO, despite the comments of fans in the column. But it’s more than simply seeing a sporting event and something MLS could learn from.

It helps too that the city is seeing something of a renaissance culturally including an influx of gourmet restaurants and well-known chefs, a friend who grew up in the city and accompanied me on the trip observed. Crime is way down as well, with the drug violence plaguing some parts of Mexico having moved elsewhere in comparison to a few years ago.

During prohibition the city was the place for Americans to party, especially at the horse racing track the soccer stadium is now built on in part. Now, 80 or so years later, American soccer fans have another excuse to visit, party and watch some of the best players in the world up close (long-time Mexican international goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez was between the posts for Santos for Sunday’s game, for example).

All in all it’s an experience I recommend and one I plan to repeat.

Read more here in today’s column.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • studs

    yet another irrelevant story on the Xolos. there are hordes of non-MLS soccer fans in LA area and a couple busload of weekend detectors from San Diego is not making me shake in my boots.

    maybe some of your energy spent on this ilicit love affair would better serve covering the two local teams that are trying to make a difference in this country. i’m done with this blog. hasta la vista amigo

  • UCLABZ

    If the Xolos get relegated, maybe they should think about joining MLS.

    Wow Studs, you seem a bit touchy on the subject. I like watching MLS, but if I found myself in England I would try to catch an EPL game. Wouldn’t you? Why should it be any different in Mexico? You don’t need to be frightened of the rest of the world.

  • studs

    Bet your life I touchy, i’m downright pissed. I’ve passionately pushed for the success of this sport in This area for 47 years and i’d be damned if I let a foreign team come in and steal from my turf.

    Your arguemnent desn’t wash here, was does going to game in England if your there got to do with this situation. I’ve been to games all over the world but when it comes to supporting a team, I support my own hometown team even if they suck. I don’t take my money and go spend it in another town. Specially if I know they are trying to undermine a fragile fan base. $&@ them and all who want to follow them and all those that cover them under the guise of journalism.

  • Beaten

    I have been to the bull fights in Mexico City, and yes, culturally an event there is a completly different experience than one in the US. There was so much food and so many people outside of the stadium before the event that I called in the “Mexican Super Bowl”.

    Stepping outside of one’s own territory or comfort zone once in awhile can be a great experience.

    I highly doubt that this league will pose any kind of a “threat” to the MLS, as it will likely only be the hard-core soccer fans that will go to all of the trouble and effort to journey accross the border to see a match.