On Friday night, Mexico opened their CONCACAF U-20 Championship participation with a 3-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda. On this cold night in Saprissa, Mexico supporters took the night as a crowd made up of mostly family members of the squad were on their feet cheering on the national team. While sports journalist in Mexico constantly talk about the National Team shirt being devalued, this is not the case for the parents who traveled to Costa Rica to cheer on their players.
Thus-far, the CONCACAF U-20 Championship has had overwhelmingly low crowd numbers, which should be the case in all games that don’t include Costa Rica. As most youth tournaments, parents are the biggest supporters and this was no exception for Mexico. The parents of players like Kevin Lara, Eduardo Aguirre, Edson Alvarez, Ronaldo Cisneros, and Paolo Yrizar, to name a few, were there from the start of the game cheering on and being the loudest supporters of all four teams that played on Friday.
Rosa Maria Lara, mother of Eduardo Aguirre, said, "We went to Chile (for the 2015 U17 World Cup), we are here, and we will go wherever". Some say the key to this team’s success is keeping the youth team together, and thus, the camaraderie that builds inside the team replicates itself in the stands. The parents have had tournaments aplenty to mesh together and they know each other very well.
Maybe the happiest mom on Friday was Olga Lidia Morell. Her son, Rolando Cisneros, scored two of the three goals. "I'm super happy and super proud," she exclaimed. Cisneros is one of four Santos players in the team. The new renaissance in youth from Santos has already paid off as they look to emulate teams like Pachuca and Chivas in the new wave of Mexican youth.
Finally, the parents of Edson Alvarez tell another story. While Alvarez has had recent success with Club America, where he scored a goal in the second leg of the last Liga MX final, this is the first main tournament for Alvarez with the national team. His mom, Adriana Velasquez Amador, told us of how proud he's been and how it was a goal of his, after not making prior teams. Alvarez is just more proof that a solid backing from their family can be key in the success of a player. And if it is support this team needs, this team already has a solid foundation.