50 Years of Coras USA

My latest article for KCET is available to read and enjoy. It’s a deep dive into Coras USA, aka Coras de Los Angeles, a local soccer team that existed for 50 years in southern California. The team was a cultural umbilical cord for Mexicans in Mexico and the US and later became a gateway for young players hoping to become professionals.

What began as a fun ritual for the weekend grew into a family legacy of community-building that lasted half a century. During its existence, Coras USA united working-class, immigrant families from Nayarit and other regions of Mexico in Los Angeles and provided youth players a pathway towards a professional career during its final years in the city of Riverside.

“Its original name is Deportivo Coras USA,” explained Lopez of the team founded by his father and uncles. “The first name that it had was Coras de Los Angeles. Along the years, it had a couple of name changes like Deportivo Nayarit [and] Deportivo Coras Nayarit. It’s always been Coras but it’s been known for Coras de Los Angeles because it branched out of Coras de Tepic.”

Read the story in full here: https://www.kcet.org/arts-culture/50-years-of-coras-usa-how-two-generations-built-community-with-soccer

El Clasico: The Most Intense Sports Rivalry On Earth

This Saturday’s match between FC Barcelona (Barça) and Real Madrid (Los Blancos) will mark the 216th/241st (official/friendly match tally) time the Spanish teams have faced each other on the field. The game is known as El Clásico (The Classic) or El Derbi Español and has grown to become the most watched, most anticipated and most intense rivalry in sports today.

More than just a game...

The rivalry exists thanks to a number of cultural, historical, and political reasons.

From Xoel Cardenas for Bleacher Report:

Real Madrid has always been seen as a symbol of Spanish pride and nationalism. Most Madridistas in Spain are Castilians who share relatively conservative political and social views. Most Real Madrid fans in Spain are loyal to the monarchy and continue to value monarchical traditions.

Culés {fans of Barcelona – Afro.} are very much opposite in political and social viewpoints. Most Catalans will never acknowledge that the city of Barcelona and all of the land that “was” Catalonia is Spain. Catalans prefer democracy to any kind of monarchical rule. They have more liberal political and social views; they see Catalonia as an unrecognized country.

Madrid is the capital of both Spain and the autonomous region of the Community of Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid) and holds the honor of being the country’s largest city. It became the capital in 1561 after Philip II moved the seat of the court from Seville to Madrid. Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia (Catalunya) in northeastern Spain.

Catalonia has a long history of defending itself against the suppression of its autonomy and its culture from monarchic forces beginning with the rise of the Kingdom of Spain in the 13th century culminating with the fall of Barcelona on September 11, 1714.

The 20th century saw a number of major developments in politics and sports in the country. FC Barcelona was established in 1899 (yes, technically that’s the 19th century but we’ll give it some leeway) and Real Madrid in 1902. King Alfonso XIII assumed power in 1902 and the Copa Del Rey (The King’s Cup) was established to celebrate his coronation. It was in this tournament that both teams met for the first time.

This will make more sense a few paragraphs from now

Continue reading “El Clasico: The Most Intense Sports Rivalry On Earth”