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For Santos Laguna, Thanksgiving crosses physical and cultural borders

While Northern Mexico might not be the most likely place to celebrate Thanksgiving, it has become an important tradition at Santos Laguna.

Players and staff of Club Santos Laguna gather around for Thanksgiving dinner.
Players and staff of Club Santos Laguna gather around for Thanksgiving dinner.

In the great dining room, everyone has come together for the holiday. One by one, they tell each other what they’re thankful for from the past year. But this isn’t an ordinary Thanksgiving dinner. This is in the dining room at Santos Laguna’s training compound at Territorio Santos Modelo, and it’s attended by players and staff alike.

Mexico doesn’t have a Thanksgiving holiday like the United States, but Santos celebrates it regardless. It is consistent with their values not only of creating a sense of community, but also helps some members of the team with assimilating to life in Torreón, which has strong ties to the United States.

“We celebrate Thanksgiving because we always have Mexican Americans in the team,” Loren Fuentes, Head of Integral Development at Club Santos Laguna tells SB Nation. “And you cannot uproot them,” Fuentes says. “They would go into depression, so every year we celebrate it here in this room.”

Even players who don’t have ties to the United States get into the holiday spirit. “They like it,” Fuentes says. “I really think we’ve done it like a very meaningful... where everybody goes around and and, and has to think about what they’re thankful for. And you know, that feels good.”

“So we go around,” she continues, “(and) we put all the tables together. and the cooking staff, it’s the only day that they dine with us. So they come out and they dine with us and we go around and say why we’re thankful this year and you know, it’s good. It’s one of the best traditions. They love it.”

“I don’t know if it’s that or the chocolate truffles,” she quips. “But they do like it. It’s important that they continue on with the celebrations.”

This year with the team looking at being on the road on Thanksgiving in the United States, Santos had their Thanksgiving last Thursday.