I’ve known Rich Ransom for about five years now. We met online, where we both found common ground talking about the Philadelphia Union - our local Major League Soccer club. I started writing pretty much full-time (as full-time as a part-time blogger can, I guess) at Brotherly Game and Rich joined as well. While writing at Brotherly Game, I still would watch Liga MX and tweet games. It was my first soccer passion, after all. I told Rich, like I tell all of my soccer-watching friends, to check out Liga MX. “The quality is far superior to MLS, and if you’re willing to sit through a Bulgarian stream of Manchester United you can watch a game on Univision in Spanish” I said.
Rich came back a few weeks later and said he loved Liga MX. He loved the style of play, the pace of the game, and the penchant for the wild moments that seemed to accompany the league long before low-hanging scoreboards became the joke du jour. I asked Rich what team he liked, and his answer took me by surprise.
“Chivas,” he said.
I still talk to Rich about Liga MX - him usually giving me grief when Chivas wins (he was really on a tear when they won the Clausura), and me countering when El Rebaño Sagrado inevitably shoot themselves in the foot. But I never really got to understand how he grew to like the team.
When Chivas’ new El Tri inspired kits came out, I tweeted that I thought they look sharp. Rich’s response stopped me dead.
When I already feel uncomfortable for being black non-Mexican Chivas supporter, they come out with this.— Rich Ransom (@richransom21) September 14, 2017
I asked him first how he got started in the first place. “It's pretty crappy reason. I liked Chivas because I went ‘Oh, like Chivas USA.’ I knew of other Mexican teams, but the name recognition of the MLS team plus knowing Chicharito from being a Manchester United supporter helped picking Chivas. Also the constant craziness that was Chivas when I picked them kept me connected. Plus every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. they were on television. It seems weird being non Mexican liking them but I guess I'm stuck.”
When asked if not being of Mexican descent was an issue for him, Rich said “It's a non issue,” and further explained that it “only came up when I wanted to go to the friendly they had (at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey against Atlético Nacional in September) and would there be an issue. I didn't go because I had other plans.” He went on to say “They had a friendly at Red Bull Arena Labor Day weekend. Chivas is all about Mexican patriotism, and I was hoping if I went I wouldn't be getting into trouble with other Chivas fans.”
We talked about if he thought being black was an issue being a fan of the club, referencing his tweet to me earlier in the evening. “Personally no,” he said. “I think I mean it more in that I'm nowhere near who this team is marketed for. It's like, it's a team who fields 100% Mexican players. I'm not gonna see a player who looks like me ever wearing the Rojiblancos.” He went on to say “There's many other teams in Liga MX with black players and I should support them. But I guess Chivas got a hold of me.”
I asked him about the language barrier, as he had told me “I do wish they would do more English content. I don't speak Spanish and I can google translate everything” He went on to say that “Watching games it's no problem. Plus the Univision English Facebook has been awesome. But I would love to know from them what's going on.” He also added “But there's great twitter accounts like The Stray Goat and Tom Marshall who help. But when there's other teams doing English accounts trying to connect to the. English fan and Chivas isn't, that's not a good look.”
I closed by asking Rich if he could speak with owner Jorge Vergara what he would want to say to him. “I understand and respect the pro Mexican heritage of the team. Actually keep it, I don't mind it. But know there are those who are fans who aren't Mexican who are fans of Chivas.” He continued by saying “Even for those younger Latinos who don't speak Spanish in the US. Look into expanding with more English content.”
“And one more friendly in the northeast again please. I keep missing them haha,” he said with a laugh.