BY TRACY LÓPEZ
(Originally published on CafeMagazine.com on June 17, 2010.)
During the World Cup, entire nations come together in collective celebration and hope, but for first and second generation Americans in the United States, the World Cup is a reminder of roots and identity.
For U.S. born Latinos, team loyalties are often split between the United States and the land of their parents, grandparents or even more distant ancestors. For naturalized U.S. Citizens and other immigrants, team loyalty to the land of their birth is often even stronger, but is this a source of pride or confusion?
In search of an answer, I put the question to my diverse group of friends on Twitter, “…1st & 2nd generation estadounidenses – Do you root for the country of your roots, the US or both?”
The answer was unanimous; there’s enough love in the hearts of fútbol fanatics to cheer on more than one team.
For Diana Estigarrbia, (@destigarribia), her love of fútbol is split three ways. “I root for Argentina [and] Chile (parents’ roots); [and] US (my birthplace) now that we have a decent team!” she told me via Twitter. Displaying equal love for traditional American past times, she added in E-mail, “I remember Argentina’s win in 1986. It was a big year for me – the New York Mets won the World Series later that fall, and I had a World Cup victory!”
Elianne Ramos, (@ergeekgoddess), also responding to my Twitter question regarding fútbol loyalties, said, “1st Argentina 2nd USA!”
Other answers proclaimed with just as much certainty that a dual citizenship in Fútbolandia is possible.
“The homeland of my kin first, then the U.S.A. My family is from Argentina. So, how can I not root for those soccer kings?” said Veronica Jarski. (@Veronica_Jarski)
Luis Tobon (@thelox714), also expressed a desire to root for both, saying, “I would [root] for both but the issue is that Colombia has not made it to the World Cup since France 98 and did not make it far.”
Ana H. Blackstad (@AnaBlackstad), said “Both Mexico & USA!”, elaborating, “My Dad was born in the US, raised in Mexico, my Mom was born & raised in Mexico. My loyalties are with both.”
Silvia answered via E-mail, “I’m from Mexico and of course my roots are with them, however the three people I love the most in this world, (my husband and two kids), are from the USA, and I’m also a US citizen, so I root for the USA as well.”
For my husband Carlos, a naturalized U.S. Citizen of Salvadoran birth, watching the World Cup and rooting for the United States doesn’t feel like a division of loyalties.
“El Salvador isn’t playing this time so it’s easy for me [to root for the United States], but if El Salvador makes it to the World Cup again some day, I would root for both.”
When I asked him how it feels to see his U.S. born children waving the red, white and blue, he shrugged and smiled. “I’d be happy to see them root for El Salvador, but it’s their choice and they were born here, so I understand.”