More than one million Mexicans reside in Chicago. Known as ‘Chicanos’, he lives with great enthusiasm the arrival of Mexican ‘Tri’ led by Gerardo Martino to play a pre-season friendly match for Qatar 2022 against Ecuador. Soldier Field will be dyed green despite ticket prices, T-shirt orders from Mexico soaring, and the presence of “Alpisano” boosting business in the city’s Latin Quarter.
“Choice is coming!!!! Buy your ‘shirt’ here,” one of the posters hanging in the windows of sportswear stores in Pilsen, Chicago’s Mexican Quarter. The spirit of the Mexican city turns into “Tri” and it doesn’t matter if the cheapest tickets cost $80. “We’ve run out of ‘shirts’ from Mexico, everyone wants to wear our colors,” Axel Gomez, an employee at a sports store, told EFE.
Special events, giant screens in Pilsen’s bars and restaurants, the three colors of the Mexican flag stain the streets of Pilsen: Chicanos will make their team feel at home.
The pride of “Chicanos”
“We are so proud to have them here because so many people are going to go see them, my sister is going, my nephews are going, everyone is going to go see them,” Abel Serangoa, a Mexican national from Guanajuato who has lived in Chicago since 1986, owns an ice cream and soft drink shop.
Although his favorite players, Giovanni dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez are not part of the current squad, Tre’s arrival is an opportunity to feel closer to his country.
“Of course we miss Mexico, although we feel very comfortable in this neighbourhood,” he admits.
T-shirt sales in Mexico Solar
Which is that the access to choice, in addition to being proud of its colors, is also an important business-level benefit for local businesses, such as sportswear stores.
One of the most famous is located on 18th Street, a few steps from the “L” station, the elevated Chicago subway, which receives so many orders for the “Adidas” jerseys from Mexico with the new logo, the same as the Mexican “triple” in the Cup the scientist.
Queretaro-born Axel Gomez told EFE, “There are fairly high expectations, many Mexicans came to the store and asked me for T-shirts, ‘t-shirts, for tickets we’ll start selling soon.’” He moved three years ago to study engineering at the University of Chicago. .
He adds, “People are very excited, from both sides, besides Ecuador and Mexico. Everyone is asking for ‘t-shirts, jerseys, even goalkeeper gloves, all in order to wear the colors of the country.'”
His shop is like the Mexican Football Museum. On the walls are the elastic bands of Club América, Tigres, Cruz Azul and Chivas and near the cash register is a shelf where there are only a few Adidas jerseys from Mexico.
“We have the official adidas jerseys with the new logo, they were just full and now we only have four left. We’re going to bring more, it’s something very much needed,” Gomez says.
High ticket prices
Many Mexican fans will wear this flexibility to go to Soldier Field on Sunday, one of the most traditional stadiums in the United States, despite the higher ticket prices.
If at the beginning of the week there are only sixty dollars left, then a few hours before the game begins, the official ‘Ticketmaster’ platform sells them from $80 to over $700 for seats at the foot of the stadium.
And despite the fact that a large portion of the Latino community in Chicago cares more about baseball and American football, there is still a strong passion for football in Pilsen.
Pilsen, the soul of Chicago football
While walking in the neighborhood it is not difficult to find public football fields, where residents of different ages gather to organize games at all hours of the day.
“At Pilsen, we are very committed to football. We are a ‘city’ (a small town) that we can say is low income, so we have a passion for football, our roots come from Mexico with that passion,” Mauricio Flores, a young man born in Chicago to a Mexican family.
“The city is divided between northerners and southerners, we are southerners and I feel like we are here more than football fans,” he adds with a smile.
Flores works at a well-known hotel on North Michigan Avenue, in the heart of Chicago, and acknowledges that the hotel’s structure has also seen an increase in Latin client bookings, due to the good weather the city has in this season, for adventure, for the added incentive of the game.
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