For some soccer fans, loyalty to home team remains unchanged

Match between the best players from Major League Soccer and Liga MX draws scores of fans who still carry Mexico 'in their hearts'

Football players practice on a playing field
A player on the Liga MX All-Stars team clears the ball during a practice session at the Life Time Sport facilities in Eden Prairie, Minn. on Tuesday.
Vicki Adame | MPR News

Wearing his El Tri — Mexico’s national team jersey — Ernesto Martinez enjoyed the activities at the soccer celebration held on the grass in front of Allianz Field Tuesday afternoon.

The festivities were part of the events leading up to Wednesday night’s Major League Soccer All Star game against Liga MX, a team of Mexico’s best players.

Martinez was one of many fans, primarily Mexican, showing their support for Liga MX.

Even if they’ve lived in the U.S. for years, they’ll remain loyal to their Mexican teams — whether that’s Club America, Chivas or Cruz Azul.

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The reason for this, Martinez said, is simple.

“We carry Mexico in our hearts. The U.S. gives us the opportunity to grow and prosper, but Mexico is very pretty and we’re Mexicans at heart,” Martinez said.

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He wasn’t the only one sporting a Mexican team jersey.

Football players practice on a playing field
Players on the Liga MX All-Stars team practice at the Life Time Sport facilities in Eden Prairie, Minn. on Tuesday.
Vicki Adame | MPR News

Ari Medrano wore a Chivas de Guadalajara jersey. It’s also her dad’s team. But her mom is a Club America fan.

Her family has been watching soccer for years. The loyalty comes from having watched those teams while growing up.

“A lot of this is hereditary, we’ve learned this. And our teams are passed down from the older generation to the younger ones,” Medrano said.

She’s also glad that her parents instilled that love of soccer in her.

That fan loyalty was also evident at the practice field in Eden Prairie where Liga MX was training Tuesday. A handful of fans lined the fence overlooking the practice field to catch a glimpse of their team.

Football players practice on a playing field
Players on the Liga MX All-Stars team practice at the Life Time Sport facilities in Eden Prairie, Minn. on Tuesday.
Vicki Adame | MPR News

That loyalty isn’t lost on the players.

Jesus Angulo, a defender for the Liga MX Tigres UALN, said when they come to the U.S., they always receive a warm welcome from Mexican fans. And for that, he’s grateful.

“They always give us a warm reception. We’re so grateful to them and their support every time we come here. Honestly, we’re so happy they support us,” Angulo said.

Both Martinez and Medrano predicted a win for Liga MX.