Argentina’s passion for the sport of soccer is truly amazing! One of the reasons I chose Argentina was precisely because of this. Coming from a Mexican household, I always grew watching and playing soccer. However, generally in the United States, especially in Kentucky, soccer isn’t at the forefront of sports.
It was a breath of fresh air to see so many people who love and enjoy the beautiful game of soccer like I do. With so many teams in Buenos Aires to pick from, I wanted to know how is it that people decide which team to support? In talking to many Argentinians, I found a couple of answers to the question. Sometimes, people choose the team from the area in which they come from. It can also be because of family. The support and passion for a team can traverse generations within a family. Two of the most notable teams are River Plate and Boca Juniors.
Boca Juniors are based in La Boca neighborhood, which is in the southeast part of the capital. Their home stadium is La Bombonera, or in English, the chocolate box. There is an interesting story behind the colors of Boca Juniors which are blue and gold that my program director told us. In 1907, they decided they would use the colors of the next ship that docked in port. It turned out to be a Swedish ship, which resulted in those colors being used. Boca fans are given the name of “Genoese”, which was named after the immigrant working class that lived in the Boca neighborhood.
This is why Boca is considered the team of the people. Within our program, we did a tour of its museum and got the chance to see the inside of the stadium. It was an awesome experience! The stadium is small, considering it is one of the best teams in South America. However, I heard that playing in it as the away team is a nightmare because of how close the fans are to the pitch and because of how loud it gets. This is why the fans are considered the twelfth player.
River Plate is in the Nuñez neighborhood next to Belgrano, the neighborhood I stayed at. They play in El Monumental stadium, which is also where the national team plays its home games. It is the biggest stadium in Argentina with a capacity of more than 61 thousand. While walking to the stadium I felt so excited to have the opportunity to see a match. The pitch was beautiful and the stadium was huge! I couldn’t believe it at first. A couple of months ago I was seeing this stadium in a video game and now it was right here in front of me!
The passion I saw within the fans for their team was amazing! I could hear the drums playing and fans singing chants. At certain parts of the game the whole stadium would participate in the chant and it sounded amazing! For most of the match River Plate was down, but that didn’t stop fans from giving support. All in all, it was an amazing thing to experience, a must-to-do in Argentina!