It’s that time again. The World Cup is back, and it comes with an entire month full of competitions from the best soccer teams from around the globe. The tournament, which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 12 to July 13, gives Filipinos, Koreans, Italians, and many other people from different nationalities an opportunity to show their pride for their culture and share that culture with others.
The World Cup not only brings together soccer players from different cultures, but it also gives youth something to connect to their heritage. Many second-generation immigrant youth see the World Cup as a chance to support their country of origin. Sometimes, youth don’t want to cheer for the team they are “supposed” to support and may have other reasons for choosing the team they root for.
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of soccer, but when it’s World Cup time, I’m ready to cheer for Mexico. I want to support Mexico because my parents were born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico. I feel that I can connect to the culture because I get to surround myself with other Mexico fans, even if they aren’t Mexican. It allows me to learn more about the sport and the culture behind it.
During the game, my family members tend to reminisce on their times back in Mexico while they were growing up, and I can catch a peek of what life was for them back in their home country.
As the World Cup continues to rage on, VoiceWaves asked youth around Long Beach. “What team are you supporting and why? How does the World Cup connect you to the country’s culture?”
“I’m rooting for Brazil based on the players, where they play, and their skill. I can connect to the culture because I can learn of their history during the World Cup; they’re always one of the best teams. Because I’m Mexican, I should be supporting Mexico…[but] I can root for whomever.” -Eric Oliva, 18
“I’m cheering for Mexico, but I also want the Netherlands to win. I chose Mexico because my family is from there. Hopefully they get far. Because soccer is very popular in Mexico, most, if not all, of my family supports and is a fan of Mexican soccer. I’m supporting Mexico but I also want the best team, whoever it is, to win. Most of the other national teams play very well too.” –Mariela Gomez, 17
“Mexico is my team. I was born there, and all my family is from there. My role model, Miguel Layun, is on the team, so that is a plus. I do think it connects me to my culture; I think it is because soccer is the biggest sport in Mexico, and when the national team plays, every Mexican unites and supports them, despite what team they go for inside the Mexican soccer league.” –Braian Tapia, 17
“I’m following USA and Brazil. I’m going for Brazil because one of my favorite soccer players is Neymar, and he’s in the team. And, Brazil is where the World Cup it’s taking place. Of course I’m going for USA because it’s where I live. Many of my friends expect me to root for USA.” –Christian Alcantara, 14
“I go for Mexico. They’re a pretty good team, but it was mainly just that my dad goes for the team. That’s why I just go for the team. They’re really good but I don’t think they’ll make it to the end. We’re not really connecting to the culture because all we do is sit and stare at the television. There’s no communication besides the yelling at a screen.” –Alma Rodriguez, 16
Below are some Twitter takes from young people in Long Beach tweeting about the World Cup: