I (Bryan) mentioned a few weeks ago that TriReport will be connecting/networking with another site called “Pancho Villa’s army.” I myself will be contributing for them in addition to TriReport. They will cover everything around Mexican football, fan travel/connection, and Liga MX. I thought a great way to introduce the site to fans, was an interview with the creator, Sergio. You can check out Pancho Villa’s army at PanchoVillasarmy.com
, and can “Like” PVA on Facebook here!
1) Give us a short run down on your background. Where are you from? How long have you been an El Tri fan?
Hello, I am Sergio T. from the greatest country in the world, Texas. I was born and raised in Austin, and besides my time in the U.S. Army, have resided in Austin for 31 years. I was not always a sole follower of La Seleccion Mexicana, in 1994 I was a proud U.S. supporter too. Watching Alexi Lalas, Tony Meola, and the miracle boys of 1994 here in the U.S. was truly inspirational. My family is originally from Mexico so during the summers I traveled to Mexico to spend time south of the border. I played a lot of soccer in the streets of San Luis Potosi with cousins and local kids, honing my skills and passion for the sport. Soccer has been my first love and now only my wife and unborn child have taken it over.
2) What has been the most memorable moment as a Mexico fan for you?
The most memorable El Tri experience for me was in 1986 when I was five years old. That was the summer that Mexico hosted the World Cup on home soil and althought I was only 5 years old I can remember everything about that tournament. Most importantly, I remember Manuel Negrete scoring that beautiful goal against Bulgaria on a flying half volley. That evening when all the boys went out into the streets everyone wanted to be ‘Negrete’ in our recreation of the World Cup match.
3) What sparked your interest in creating Pancho Villa’s army?
Pancho Villa’s Army for me serves three major purposes. First, as a predominant english speaker I prefer to consume my news and information in English. I can read and write in spanish but english is easier for me. I believe there are a lot of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. who prefer their news in english. I hope to bring Mexican soccer information to those fans in their prefered format. Right now there is no english soccer news outlet that covers the Mexican league or Mexican players. Some speak about players and the league but only as it relates to the MLS, European Leagues, or USMNT news. My second goal is to unite El Tri fans in order to make the game viewing experience better and more fun. I want to unite El Tri fans across the U.S. to form watch parties and travel groups. How cool would it be to fly out with 100 El Tri fans to Brazil for the Confederations Cup or the World Cup? Sure as an individual I could get tickets and go but who do I turn to to high five? Who will sing Cielito Lindo with me? Lastly, I am a big believer in supporting low income hispanic soccer in the U.S. because I used to be one of those low income kids. I want Pancho Villa’s Army to become a major contributor to hispanic youth education and soccer, hopefully discovering the next major El Tri star!
4) What has been a surprising (positive) reaction to PVA?
The most surprising reaction for Pancho Villa’s Army right now has been the amount of interest shown by El Tri fans across the country. I have received emails, tweets, and Facebook messages asking for more information and our plans for 2013. Our Facebook page has grown each of the last three weeks, we are close to 100 ‘Likes’ and 50 ‘followers’ on Twitter. Another major surprise was being contacted by a major spanish soccer news outlet and asked to be a major partner in their expansion into the U.S. soccer news market. Partnering with such a huge venture really helps legitimize our goals. I can’t reveal more at this time but stay tuned in early 2013.
5) How do you address the other fan bases who claim PVA is copying other team fan-groups?
The largest negative reaction has been from the USMNT supporter group American Outlaws, they have been very disrespectful in their opinion. I find their ‘copying’ arguments completely ridicules. I am sorry, but fan groups have been around since way before American Outlaws organized themselves in the early 2000s. These people claiming that we are ‘copying’ them should read “How Soccer Explains the World” by Franklin Foer and educated themselves about the English ‘firms’, the Red Star Brigade, and the South American Barra Bravas. Those are the true originals, not the American Outlaws. Our goal is not to attack American Outlaws or Sam’s Army. Our goal is to support El Tri and the Mexicana teams at all levels.
6) What is your overall goal with creating PVA for Mexico fans?
My goals are simple: create a meeting point for fans of El Tri online to increase the fan experience, provide great content about El Tri and Mexican Soccer in English, and support hispanic low income education and soccer.
Any last comments?
One other misconception I want to lay out is to explain why I am a supporter of El Tri and not the USMNT. You do not have to hate the USMNT to join Pancho Villa’s Army, we are about supporting El Tri not hating on the USMNT. My personal decision to no longer support the USMNT lays solely in my experience with the United States Soccer Federation and their Olympic Development Program. When I was 14 years old I was trying out for the regional ODP team, I thought I had a good trial. The regional coach, however, told me that I was not “big” enough to be on his team. The reason wasn’t that I was not good enough or lacked a specific skill but rather that I was not “big” in size. That experience really changed my life. I have been very bitter with the USMNT since that day. From that day forward I realized, for me, that I could better relate to the Mexican team. The players on El Tri looked like me and they played the style of play that I played with my club teams. Although I am not a supporter of the USMNT I do support the Women’s team, I love the Women’s team!