The lesser known part of LBF, Dom, always told lofty tales of a little-known league that he played in. He told me about the sewage pipe that ran aground on the pitch; the sporadic appearance of pavement between patches of grass and the countless other issues with the field of play. In spite of all this, Dom loved playing here and when I asked why, he wasn’t able to really explain it. So I had to see for myself.
What I witnessed when we arrived at the field in Downtown Camden (yeah, that Camden) was incredible. Hundreds of (mostly) Mexicans gathered on Sunday afternoons to watch teams play in the La Corona Liga de Futbol. They had stands set up where they sold tacos, tortas (food from the gods), fruits and whatever else you could imagine. The playing teams wore jerseys from the most popular football clubs in the world. Once, a team wearing the Arsenal home kit played another team that wore the Arsenal away kit. Unbelievable.
After the games were over, they would all gather together to drink Modelo Especials (what’s a Bud Light?) and talk about the pretty Mexican women that were scattered all over the place. This was a truly unique experience for me. I was used to gearing up to go play with all my good friends and maybe we’d all go get dinner afterwards. That was my way of “living and breathing futbol” But these guys took it to a new level. It was a family event where kids were running around the periphery of the fields while the women sat by watching the men play. There was entertainment and commerce going on and futbol was at the epicenter of it all.
These little cultural gems reinforce why I fell in love with futbol. There is such a rich and inspiring culture around the game that has the ability to bring everyone together. It’s cliched because it’s true. With that said, I’ll introduce you to some of the characters involved in the madness…
That there is Tone, the man who handles the legal side of things for LBF and also plays on the “La Raza” team in the La Corona Liga de Futbol. Don’t let the mean mug fool you, Tone is quite the comedian.
^ That’s Dom. He’s the guy behind the LBF Videos. Most recently our “No Work, Just Play” effort.
Izzy. Also known as “Sensible Izzy” Midfield Maestro. Izzy is rocking our soon to be released “Vivire Respirar Futbol” shirt.
That guy up there is also named Izzy (short for Israel). He is the coach/manager/owner of the “La Raza” team.
Luis. This kid doesn’t speak a word of English; his feet do all the talking. He’s to “La Raza” what the little god on his shirt is to FC Barcelona.
Next time you’re in Camden on a Sunday afternoon, stop by the field and see for yourself. I can’t quite tell you where the field is you’d have to sniff it out.
As always, thanks for reading and keep supporting LIVE BREATHE FUTBOL!