The most worthwhile thing to mention from the combine and draft is the comportment of Chivas USA.
I think it’s safe to assume that most who follow MLS were already aware that something is very different with the club now. Ever since that first press conference that new owner Vergara gave, supporters and American writers seemed put off.
Not shocking, as anything or anyone that’s not “like them” is hated and attacked.
What do I mean?
Well for one, Vergara essentially said his intentions were to cater to the Mexican player, community, and style.
Apparently that’s wrong. The American supporter, the primary demographic MLS targets, is the ‘white’ suburban middle to upper middle class who view soccer with a recreational mentality. How dare all this Mexican stuff dirty our white picket fences! “Chivas USA is a disgrace”, they say.
Of course these supporters won’t admit to any sort of prejudice. On the contrary, they’ll say Vergara and company are the ones with this problem.
They’ll point to their support of all these Latino players in the league as evidence of there lack of racial prejudice. Yeah well, so long as the mix -or balance- of races or heritage is a “good one”, I suppose there’s no problem. ‘Good one’ of course judged by their collective tolerance and their thoughts of what’s right and wrong.
So what happens if one builds a team around Mexican Americans? And aspires to target that demographic? One which, by the way, likely has the greatest numbers of passionate footballing fans and players in the country. One which the league, and the entire soccer ecosystem in the states, is not designed for.
Forget the racial, there’s something more fundamental and important
First, the straightforwardness of Vergara’s positions, then the roster moves, then not sitting with all the rec coaches at the combine, then Chelis straight up declaring who his pick will be at this ‘only in America‘ draft.
This brand spanking new Chivas USA is a great example of how being different is attacked. It’s a great example of how the scared mediocre want everyone to be just like them. To talk like them, to believe like them, to support like them, to behave like them … to pretty much be like them!
How dare anyone color outside their lines. How dare anyone not respect the boundaries they set forth!
Because that’s what this is about.
Vergara and his crew are different. They are not “from here”. They bring a different culture, and a different mindset. They have a different way of doing business.
And how the American soccer community has received them is indicative of the intolerance that exists here. It makes clear who the overwhelmimg voice in our country is. It is a voice with tremendous cultural – not the same as racial – prejudice.
Luckily, Vergara has something more important.