“After experiencing both sides via youth camps, the goalkeeper remarked, “in the U.S., I was ‘the Mexican.’ In Mexico, I was ‘the Gringo.'” – David Ochoa

In the Mexico vs America soccer rivalry, choosing between the national teams can be emotionally draining on the player as well as their family. When being pursued by both teams in such a heavy manner, players are often torn between what path is best for them. Something I think the article shed light on which is not mentioned enough is how a player might not feel like they belong on either team. David Ochoa touches on this fact by showing that he was given a label by both teams. I can only imagine this resulted in a struggle with identity.

“They do a good job in communicating with the families. I think that’s a big difference,” – Hugo Perez

An important topic discussed in the ESPN article was the fact that when recruiting for Mexico, they have an emphasis on communicating with the family of the player they are recruiting. When a player is choosing between teams it is not only themselves they have in mind but they also think of their families. In my opinion, if the family is included in the recruitment process it can make a huge difference for the player because they feel like the team is thinking of their family as well. This is something Mexico does a good job of according to Hugo Perez who has seen the recruitment side of both teams. The US has started to become better at doing this but it can be difficult if there is a language barrier involved.

“We couldn’t say that we were from USA,” says Diego. “We’re not [U.S.] citizens, but we can’t say that we’re from El Salvador ‘cause we don’t even know the place.”

For Group B we read an article about how two brothers, Lizandro and Diego, were deported to El Salvador despite the fact that they had been living in the US since 2009. They were undocumented but had no criminal record, were employed, and getting an education. They had their whole lives planned out in the US and when they were sent back to El Salvador they felt like they had hit rock bottom. They, like Ochoa in the first article, struggled with identity and did not know what to call themselves. This is the case for so many people who have been deported after starting and building their lives in America. Everything taken away from them in the blink of an eye and having to find a new identity in a place they did not know.