Sunday, April 13, 2014

Soccer in Ecuador

Next time I'm sitting on the
other side.
I attended my first Ecuadorian soccer game yesterday. It was an interesting experience. Do I have to begin calling it football now – or futbol?

The game was Universidad Catolica versus Deportivo Quito (Catolica won, 1-0). It was a good game, though not of the highest quality – about as good as an MLS game (the best Ecuadorian players, of course, go to other countries, where they can make more money).

I certainly can't argue with the price, though – general admission was five bucks. Still, next time I'll pay a little more to get a seat on the other side – the cheap seats are looking right into the afternoon sun. The other side is covered and faces away from the sun. The shade doesn't mean that much -- it wasn't hot -- but it was very difficult to see well, even wearing sunglasses.

Put down that
#$%@ umbrella!
Lots of people had umbrellas. I was sitting in the Deportivo Quito boosters section, and lots of them had blue or red (the team colors) umbrellas. Very colorful, but I'd hate to be sitting behind somebody holding one.

This was a Deportivo Quito home game, though Catolica uses the same stadium -- three Quito teams share the stadium. Another Quito team (the rich kids, I guess) has its own stadium. Can you imagine US teams sharing a stadium? Perish the thought -- much better that the taxpayers spend several hundred million to build us our own stadium (and, of course, lease it to us for a dollar a year). US sports is rife with crony capitalism.

Lots of security. There were
another bunch of cops right
behind me on the concourse. 
Universidad Catolica, despite the name, is a professional team. In fact, three of the twelve teams at the top level (Primera A) have 'Universidad' in their name (the others are from Universidad de Quito and Universidad de Loja). Apparently Ecuador has done what the US should do – acknowledge that top-level college teams are actually professionals.

We've all heard stories, of course, about Latin American soccer fans rioting. They apparently take that possibility pretty seriously here. There were a solid line of cops protecting the field, and all fans are thoroughly frisked – twice – before entering the stadium. In any case, the game was quite peaceful, and a good time was had by all. Or at least by me (I probably shouldn't speak for the Deportivo Quito fans).

No comments:

Post a Comment