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Soccer reacts to wave of mass shootings

Fans, players, and clubs alike call for unity and action amid outpouring of grief and frustration

Orlando City Soccer vs. Atlanta United Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images

In the wake of a wave of mass shootings in the United States, the soccer communities on both sides of the border have expressed both sympathy and outrage toward these heinous acts. FC Juárez held a minute of silence prior to their match against Toluca to mourn the tragedy that happened across the Rio Grande River in El Paso, Texas. Philadelphia Union captain Alejandro Bedoya grabbed a sideline mic to implore Congress to act during the Union’s match against D.C. United. Fans in the attending the US Open Cup match between Orlando City Soccer Club and Atlanta United made banners condemning the violence.

Grupo Orlegi, which owns Atlas, Santos Laguna, and Tampico Madero released a statement that read: “ We firmly believe in peace; in dialog and respect as universal and fundamental tools to construct a world where everyone has an equal opportunity.

Reconciliation creates the strength of our dreams. We all deserve a world without violence. Each and every human being has the same value and right to live. Football has taught us that the only way to win is by serving others.”

It’s followed by the hashtags #GanarSirviendo which references Santos Laguna’s motto “Ganar sirviendo es la única opción” - “Winning by serving is the only option” and #BelieveInPaz. It also references the mass shootings in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois.

According to a press release, Orlegi CEO Alfonso Villalva said: “With recent events in the United States - where we have significant relationships with fans, journalists, business people and friends - we reiterate our invitation to everyone to reflect and promote unity and inclusion.”

There was also a moment of silence that was observed prior to Santos Laguna’s Copa MX match against Chivas in Guadalajara.

Liga MX clubs have strong ties to the United States, as most clubs play multiple friendlies every year in the country. Most clubs also enjoy large numbers of fans in the United States, so they are acutely aware of the current political climate in the country especially with regards to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Villalva continued “We invite other teams, fans, and members of the media business and community-at-large to join us in solidarity and start a new conversation to bring change towards peace, kindness and harmony.”

And if you’re like a lot of people and want to help but aren’t sure what you can do, Sebastián Velázquez who plays for El Paso Locomotive in USL promoted a gofundme to assist EP Fusion SC, a youth team in El Paso that was raising money at the Walmart there at the time of the terrorist attack. Two Fusion coaches were shot during the incident, and at the time of this writing over $24,000 had been raised.