Dad’s First Soccer Match in the U.S. – “Where are the fences?”

by John Santos

I was the first time I ever saw the US National team at the Home Depot Center.  It also marked the beginning of US-Denmark-Soccer_Ticketmy current streak of never missing the annual January match there.  Being there with my dad as the US came back from a 1-0 deficit against Denmark to win 3-1 was a great experience.

It was the first time he’d ever been inside an official Soccer Stadium in the US. Having grown up in Mexico, he attended matches for Club Leon in the state of Guanajauto.  Upon taking our seats, my dad asked:

“Where are the fences”?

One of the things that stood out when my father attended matches in Mexico was the fences that surrounded the field.  Whether it was to keep the fans from invading the field, or Ron Artest like players from going after them, it was a common site (and still is in many stadiums around the world).

“These Americans should be careful” my dad cautioned.

Seconds afterwards, a ball flew right in the face of what I estimated was a 5-year old boy.

“See” he stated.

We shouldn’t have laughed at it, but we did.


As the match itself started, my dad alerted me to a trio of people sitting behind us.  Taking notes, and speaking into tape recorders, he figured out that they were scouts for the Mexican National team.  The US was set to face Mexico a few weeks later in a high profile international exhibition and we figured that they were there to try and gain an advantage on the US.  In the end it didn’t matter as the US would win that particular match against them 2-0.  But thats another story for another day.

First Soccer Match in the U.S.

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