Most Mexican clubs travel to the United States during the offseasons between torneos to play friendlies, either against one another or against local Major League Soccer or lower division opponents. There’s a large market for these friendlies, comprised of Mexican expatriates as well as a growing number of non-Mexican fans of the clubs who support teams in Mexico. Teams are all too happy to come to the United States and get some preseason practice in front of these fans.
Club America is no different, and this summer they’re playing three friendlies against fellow Liga MX clubs. They’ll play against Santos Laguna at Dick’s Sporting Goods park in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, Colorado on July 5. They’re also playing against Puebla in Chester, Pennsylvania - a suburb of Philadelphia - on July 8, and finally they’ll also go up against Monarcas Morelia in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy, Utah on July 11.
As one of the biggest clubs in the Western Hemisphere, it’s to be expected that Club America fans are everywhere. Shortly after the friendly in Chester was announced, I saw a post on Facebook by La Monumental Philadelphia - a supporter’s group for Las Aguilas near where I live. I reached out to them and they were happy to talk to me about the upcoming matches and their love for Club America.
For starters, La Monumental is a supporters group with a structure akin to Pancho Villa’s Army. Chapters are set up in cities and towns for fans of the club - the Philadelphia chapter was started in February of this year, and there are chapters in Portland, Seattle, Washington D.C., New York, Texas, Chicago, Los Angeles as well as several other cities and states in the U.S.
I spoke with Rico, who heads La Monumental Philadelphia, about Club America coming to the place where we both live. Rico said he lived in Philadelphia for fifteen years, returning earlier this year after living for two years in Colorado. I asked if he ever thought they’d play in this area, and he responded “Never. I never thought they would play in Philadelphia.” To be fair, most offseason matches by Mexican clubs take place closer to the Mexican border - places like Los Angeles, Texas, and the Midwest. It’s rare a Mexican club ventures here, although Chivas played a 2010 friendly against the Philadelphia Union while Pumas did the same in 2013. This is different, as two Mexican clubs will face one another - no MLS club involvement whatsoever.
Rico said it would be a great moment not only for fans of America but fans of Puebla in Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey and that he thought the split between the fan bases was somewhere around 70/30 in favor of Las Aguilas.
La Monumental follows Club America across the United States, going wherever they’re playing whenever they visit. Rico said there will be representation from as far away as Los Angeles and San Diego. “Whenever they play in the United States, we’ve gotta go. Maybe not everybody, but a lot of people save money every year because we know they’re coming.”
It’s cool to see that fans who support a club thousands of miles away can organize and find other like-minded fans in their area. It’s even better when they get to see their team in their back yard.