Mexico: Is it Soccer or Football? Learn Today!

  • By: Dale Horton
  • Time to read: 17 min.
Dale Horton
Dale Horton, the driving force behind Crossfire United ECNL, is a seasoned leader in youth soccer development. With a wealth of coaching experience and a passion for nurturing talent, Dale founded Crossfire United ECNL to create a soccer environment that goes beyond the pitch. His vision extends beyond victories, focusing on character development, leadership, and fostering a love for the beautiful game.

Welcome to our fascinating exploration of Mexican sports culture! In this article, we will dive into the captivating world of football in Mexico and unravel the terminology debate surrounding the beloved sport. Prepare to discover the intricate nuances of Mexican soccer terminology and understand if Mexicans call it soccer or football.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mexico has a diverse sports landscape, with association football being the most popular.
  • Mexican sports enthusiasts also follow baseball, basketball, American football, and other sports.
  • The Mesoamerican ball game and Charrería are traditional Mexican sports with deep historical roots.
  • Mexico has a rich history of international competitive success in various sports, including football.
  • Association football, known as soccer, is the most popular team sport in Mexico, with a growing emphasis on women’s football.

The History of Sport in Mexico

In Mexico, sports have a rich and diverse history, reflecting the cultural heritage and passion of its people. Mexican football culture is deeply rooted in the country’s sporting traditions. Let’s explore the fascinating history of sport in Mexico, which includes not only football but also a variety of other traditional sports.

Mesoamerican Ball Game: The Origins

The Mesoamerican ball game, known as Ōllamaliztli, has been played in Mexico for over 3,000 years. It was highly esteemed by ancient civilizations such as the Olmecs, Mayas, and Aztecs. The Maya, in particular, developed their own version of the game, using stone rings and various playing techniques. The game held great cultural and religious significance and was often played in ceremonial settings.

Pelota Purépecha: A Fiery Tradition

Another traditional Mexican sport is Pelota purépecha, which originated in the Purépecha culture of Michoacán. This unique sport involves players using a ball set on fire, allowing for nighttime play. It combines elements of athleticism and skill with the awe-inspiring spectacle of fire.

Bullfighting: An Enduring Tradition

Bullfighting, known as corrida de toros in Mexico, is deeply ingrained in the country’s culture and history. It has its roots in Spanish tradition but has evolved with a distinct Mexican flavor. Bullfighting is especially popular in certain regions of Mexico, such as Jalisco and Guanajuato, and continues to captivate audiences with its artistry and spectacle.

Charrería: Mexico’s National Sport

Charrería, often called a style of rodeo, is the national sport of Mexico and dates back to the 16th century. It emerged from the working practices of Mexican cattle ranchers, known as charros. Charrería is characterized by equestrian skills, such as roping, riding, and the beautiful costumes worn by the participants. It not only showcases the skills of the riders but also celebrates Mexico’s rural traditions and horsemanship.

Cockfighting: A Controversial Sport

Although controversial and banned in some countries, cockfighting continues to be practiced in several states of Mexico. While it remains a legal sport in these regions, the practice is increasingly scrutinized due to concerns about animal welfare. Cockfighting has historical roots in ancient civilizations and has become a significant cultural element in specific areas of Mexico.

To summarize, the history of sport in Mexico is diverse and reflects the country’s rich cultural heritage. From the ancient Mesoamerican ball game to the enduring traditions of bullfighting and Charrería, Mexican sports hold deep significance. While Mexican football culture is prominent, it is important to recognize and appreciate the variety and depth of traditional sports that have shaped Mexico’s sporting landscape.

Stay tuned for the next section, where we’ll explore Mexico’s international success in various sports competitions!

International Games Competitions

Mexico’s participation in international games competitions has been marked by remarkable achievements and memorable moments. The country has showcased its sporting prowess on the global stage, leaving a lasting impact. Let’s explore Mexico’s performance at the Olympics, Pan American Games, and Central American and Caribbean Games.

Olympic Games

Mexico has been a consistent participant in the Olympic Games since 1900. Over the years, Mexican athletes have excelled in various disciplines, bringing home medals and making their nation proud. The country’s success extends across multiple sports, including athletics, boxing, equestrian, diving, swimming, taekwondo, and football. Notably, Mexico hosted the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. The event showcased the country’s rich culture and left a lasting legacy.

Pan American Games

The Pan American Games serve as a platform for athletes from the Americas to compete against each other. Mexico has achieved considerable success in these games, ranking sixth overall in terms of medal count. The country has hosted the Pan American Games three times, further showcasing its commitment to international sporting events. Mexican athletes continue to excel and strive for excellence in this prestigious competition.

Central American and Caribbean Games

Mexico’s participation in the Central American and Caribbean Games has further solidified its position as a sporting powerhouse in the region. The country has joined this multi-sport event alongside other nations from Central America and the Caribbean. Through their dedication and talent, Mexican athletes have contributed significantly to the success of their national team, earning medals and highlighting Mexico’s sporting capabilities.

“Mexico’s presence in international games competitions reflects the country’s commitment to promoting sports excellence and fostering a sense of national pride. Mexican athletes continue to inspire us with their determination and achievements.”

As Mexico continues to compete at the Olympics, Pan American Games, and Central American and Caribbean Games, the country’s athletes serve as ambassadors of Mexican sport, embodying the spirit of competition, perseverance, and national pride.

Team Sports in Mexico

Association football, commonly known as soccer, is Mexico’s most popular team sport. It is widely followed and practiced throughout the country. Football was introduced to Mexico by English Cornish miners in the late 19th century. It became a professional sport in 1943.

Mexican football clubs, such as Club América and Chivas, are highly popular and have a strong fan base. These clubs compete in the Liga MX, the top professional league in Mexico. The fierce rivalries between teams create intense and exciting matches that captivate fans.

In recent years, women’s football has also been gaining popularity in Mexico. The Mexican women’s national team, known as Las Tri, has achieved success in international competitions and has captured the hearts of fans across the country. The growing interest in women’s football is contributing to the overall development and promotion of the sport in Mexico.

Football in Mexico serves as a platform for athletes to showcase their skills, inspiring young players to pursue their dreams of playing at the highest level. The sport unites communities and brings people together, creating a sense of camaraderie and shared passion.

Popular Mexican Football ClubsNumber of Championships
Club América13
Tigres UANL7
Cruz Azul8

Mexico’s Love for Football

Football holds a significant place in Mexican culture, deeply embedded in the hearts of fans across the country. From young children playing in the streets to passionate supporters filling stadiums, the love for football in Mexico is undeniable.

The Mexican football culture is characterized by a vibrant and energetic atmosphere surrounding matches. The passion and dedication shown by Mexican fans create an electrifying environment that adds to the excitement of the game.

Football matches in Mexico often draw large crowds, with fans eagerly cheering for their favorite teams. The stadiums come alive with chants, songs, and colorful displays of support. The sense of camaraderie amongst supporters is palpable, creating a sense of unity and belonging.

The enthusiasm for football transcends generations, with fans of all ages actively participating in the sport and avidly following their favorite teams. From families gathering around the TV to watch matches together to friends bonding over a game at a local pub, football is a unifying force that brings people together.

The Passionate Mexican Football Fans

Mexican football fans are known for their unwavering commitment and loyalty to their teams. They proudly display team colors, wave flags, and create elaborate choreographed routines to support their clubs. Their fervor and dedication create an infectious atmosphere that can be felt both inside and outside the stadiums.

“The passion for football in Mexico is unmatched. The fans’ energy and love for the game create an incredible experience for players and spectators alike.” – Carlos Vela

The Impact of Football on Mexican Society

Football’s influence extends beyond the boundaries of the pitch and into Mexican society. The sport serves as a source of national pride, uniting communities regardless of social, economic, or cultural backgrounds. Whether it’s a local match or an international tournament, football ignites a sense of belonging and identity.

The popularity of football in Mexico has also contributed to the development of youth talent, providing opportunities for aspiring players to pursue their dreams. The success of Mexican teams and players on the international stage has further inspired generations of football enthusiasts, solidifying the sport’s role in shaping Mexican culture.

Football’s impact can also be seen in the economic aspect, with the sport contributing to tourism and generating revenue through ticket sales, merchandise, and sponsorships.

The Big Rivalries and Memorable Moments

Football in Mexico is known for its intense rivalries, adding another layer of excitement and anticipation to matches. Games between popular clubs such as Club América and Chivas Guadalajara are eagerly anticipated by fans nationwide and often produce thrilling encounters that stay etched in fans’ memories.

Some of the most iconic moments in Mexican football history are celebrated and passed down through generations. From Mexico’s victory over Brazil in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup to unforgettable goals scored in World Cup tournaments, these moments become part of the country’s rich football folklore.

The Future of Football in Mexico

The future of football in Mexico looks promising. With continued investment in infrastructure, youth development programs, and professional leagues, the sport is set to thrive even further. The Mexican national team, widely known as El Tri, consistently competes at the highest level, showcasing the country’s footballing talent on a global stage.

As football in Mexico continues to evolve, it will remain a treasured part of Mexican culture, cherished by millions of fans and serving as a symbol of unity, passion, and national pride.

The Terminology Debate: Soccer or Football?

In Mexico, the Mexican football culture has a unique naming tradition when it comes to the beloved sport. The term commonly used to refer to the sport is “fútbol,” emphasizing the Spanish influence on the country. However, due to historical connections and cultural influences from English-speaking countries, Mexico also recognizes the term “soccer,” particularly in official and international contexts.

“In Mexico, we call it ‘fútbol,’ but we understand the influence of other countries and their language. So, ‘soccer’ is a term that is widely recognized and used as well.”

The Mexican soccer language encompasses both the traditional Spanish term “fútbol” and the English term “soccer.” This bilingual approach reflects the country’s dynamic football culture, influenced by its historical context and global interactions.

To provide a clearer understanding, let’s explore the Mexico football naming tradition in a table that showcases the use of “fútbol” and “soccer” in different contexts:

ContextTerm Used
Everyday ConversationsFútbol
Media CoverageFútbol
Official DocumentsSoccer
International CompetitionsSoccer

Mexican Football Naming Traditions

The Mexican football culture showcases its rich diversity through the use of different naming traditions. The terms “fútbol” and “soccer” coexist, reflecting the country’s bilingualism and its ability to embrace cultural influences from around the world. Whether it be on the streets, in stadiums, or during international matches, the passion for football in Mexico transcends the terminology debate and unites fans in their love for the beautiful game.

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The Significance of Football in Mexican Society

Football holds a special place in Mexican society, deeply ingrained in the Mexican way of life. It goes beyond being just a sport; it serves as a source of national pride, unites communities, and promotes a strong sense of identity. Mexican football teams have devoted and passionate fan bases, and the rivalries between teams can be intense.

Football matches in Mexico are more than just games; they are social events that bring people together, fostering a sense of camaraderie and belonging. Families and friends gather to support their favorite teams, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere in stadiums across the country.

The sport has also become a platform for social and cultural expression. Fans proudly display their team colors, chant catchy slogans, and create elaborate fan rituals, showcasing their love and dedication to the game. Football has become deeply intertwined with Mexican traditions, and it is not uncommon to witness traditional dances, music, and food at football events.

Football’s significance extends beyond the field, as it plays a role in shaping Mexican society. It provides opportunities for social mobility, as talented young players from humble backgrounds can rise to prominence and become national heroes. The success of Mexican football teams and players on the international stage also boosts the country’s global image and instills a sense of pride among its citizens.

Football in Mexico is more than a game—it’s a cultural phenomenon that reflects the passion, unity, and resilience of the Mexican people.

The impact of football can also be seen in the economic sphere, with matches bringing substantial revenue to local businesses and tourism industries. Football tourism has become increasingly popular, with fans from around the world traveling to Mexico to experience the unique atmosphere and witness the skill and talent of Mexican players.

Football has the power to transcend borders, language barriers, and social divides, uniting people under a common love for the game.

In summary, Mexican football culture is a vibrant and integral part of Mexican society. It symbolizes national pride, fosters a sense of community, and showcases the passion and dedication of Mexican fans. Football’s significance goes beyond the sport itself, influencing Mexican traditions, social dynamics, and even the country’s economy.

Football Heroes of Mexico

Mexico has proudly produced numerous football legends who have left an indelible mark on the sport. These players, through their incredible contributions and achievements, have become true heroes in Mexican football culture.

One of the most iconic figures in Mexican football history is Hugo Sánchez. Known for his extraordinary goal-scoring ability, Sánchez became a legend both in Mexico and internationally. His time playing for clubs like Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid solidified his status as one of the greatest Mexican footballers of all time.

Cuauhtémoc Blanco is another football hero who has captured the hearts of Mexican fans. Blanco’s skill, creativity, and passion on the field made him a true fan favorite. His notable career includes playing for renowned clubs such as América, Real Valladolid, and the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer.

When discussing football heroes of Mexico, Rafael Márquez cannot be overlooked. Márquez’s leadership, versatility, and defensive prowess made him a stand-out player throughout his career. He represented Mexico in multiple FIFA World Cups and played for prestigious clubs like Barcelona and AS Monaco.

“These football heroes have not only made a significant impact on Mexican football but have also inspired generations of players and fans alike. They embody the passion, skill, and dedication that define the Mexican football culture.”

Here’s a glimpse into the achievements and honors of these legendary Mexican football heroes:

PlayerNotable ClubsInternational AchievementsIndividual Honors
Hugo SánchezClub Universidad Nacional, Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid– FIFA World Cup appearances
– Gold Cup victories
– Top goal scorer in La Liga
– FIFA 100 list by Pelé
Cuauhtémoc BlancoClub América, Real Valladolid, Chicago Fire– FIFA World Cup appearances
– Gold Cup victories
– FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
– FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball
Rafael MárquezAS Monaco, Barcelona, New York Red Bulls– FIFA World Cup appearances
– Gold Cup victories
– FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
– UEFA Champions League winner

These football heroes have greatly contributed to the elevation of Mexican football on the global stage. Their exceptional skills, leadership, and dedication have not only earned them personal accolades but have also inspired future generations of Mexican players to chase their dreams and make their own mark in the football world.

Future of Football in Mexico

Football in Mexico is experiencing a bright future, with growing popularity and increasing investments in infrastructure, youth development, and professional leagues. As the sport continues to thrive, there are promising prospects ahead for Mexican football culture.

The Mexican national team, affectionately known as El Tri, consistently competes at the international level and boasts a strong and passionate fan base. Their performances in global tournaments captivate the nation and further fuel the Mexican football fever.

With the establishment of academies, grassroots programs, and development initiatives, Mexico is nurturing young talents and cultivating their skills. This focus on youth development ensures a steady supply of talented players who will continue to elevate the quality of football in Mexico.

Furthermore, the professional leagues, such as Liga MX and Liga MX Femenil, continue to grow in popularity and attract top talents from around the world. This influx of talent, coupled with passionate local players, creates a vibrant and competitive football environment.

Considering the enthusiastic support of Mexican football fans, the potential for growth, and the continuous investment in the sport, the future of football in Mexico looks incredibly bright.

Mexican Football Investements

Investment AreaFocus
InfrastructureUpgrading stadiums, training facilities, and football academies.
Youth DevelopmentEstablishing grassroots programs, academies, and talent identification systems.
Professional LeaguesIncreasing financial support for clubs, attracting global talent, and improving league structures.
International CompetitionsParticipating in prestigious tournaments and enhancing international collaborations.
Community OutreachPromoting football at a grassroots level, providing opportunities for underprivileged communities.

Through these investments and initiatives, Mexico is poised to continue its footballing success and cement its place as a prominent force in the global football community.

Mexican Football and Cultural Identity

Football in Mexico is more than just a game. It represents the very essence of Mexican culture, serving as a reflection of national identity, pride, and unity. The sport embodies the values that are deeply ingrained in Mexican society, such as teamwork, passion, and perseverance.

Football provides a platform for Mexicans from all walks of life to come together, supporting their favorite teams and celebrating victories as a unified nation. The fervor and dedication displayed by Mexican football fans are unmatched, creating an electric atmosphere during matches and instilling a sense of community among supporters.

Throughout history, Mexican football has played a crucial role in promoting social mobility. Talented players from humble backgrounds have used their skills on the pitch as a pathway to success, becoming inspirations for aspiring athletes across the country.

But football in Mexico is not just about the game itself. It is also about the language and terminology that accompanies it. Mexicans have their unique soccer language, a combination of Spanish and English expressions that add to the richness of Mexican football culture.

“¡Golazo!” (meaning “amazing goal”) and “jugada maestra” (meaning “masterful play”) are just a few examples of the colorful vocabulary used by Mexican football commentators and fans alike. These expressions capture the excitement and passion that Mexican football culture embodies.

In the words of Mexican football legend, Hugo Sánchez: “Football is not just a sport in Mexico; it is a way of life. It represents our hopes, our dreams, and our determination to succeed.”

Football has become deeply rooted in Mexican society, with the sport permeating every aspect of life. From street corners to professional stadiums, football is a constant presence, providing joy, inspiration, and a sense of belonging to millions of Mexicans.

The Role of Football in Mexican Culture

Football plays a significant role in shaping Mexican culture and national identity. It serves as a source of unity, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and regions. In Mexico, supporting a football team is more than just a hobby; it is a way to express loyalty, pride, and a shared sense of belonging.

Football clubs like Club América, Chivas, and Cruz Azul have dedicated fan bases that embody the spirit and passion of Mexican football culture. Rivalries between these teams fuel intense emotions on and off the field, creating an unparalleled atmosphere during matches.

Moreover, football heroes such as Hugo Sánchez, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, and Rafael Márquez have become symbols of Mexican excellence and resilience. These players have inspired generations of Mexicans to pursue their dreams, not only in football but in all aspects of life.

The Language of Mexican Football

Mexican football culture is enriched by a unique language that blends Spanish and English expressions. This fusion of languages creates a distinctive vocabulary that adds flavor and excitement to the sport.

For example, the word “gol” (meaning “goal”) is a familiar term in football worldwide. In Mexico, it is often accompanied by an enthusiastic “¡goooooooool!” shouted by fans when their team scores. This distinctive pronunciation reflects the energy and passion of Mexican football culture.

Additionally, Mexican football fans have a knack for creating catchy chants and songs that amplify the atmosphere during matches. These chants are not only an expression of support for the team but also a way to demonstrate Mexican pride and identity.

The Future of Mexican Football Culture

Mexican football culture continues to evolve and thrive, with young talent emerging and new generations of fans joining the passionate ranks of supporters. The growth of women’s football in Mexico further contributes to the diversification and inclusivity of the sport.

As the sport advances, Mexican football culture will continue to serve as a testament to the country’s rich heritage and unwavering love for the beautiful game. It will remain a source of joy, excitement, and cultural significance for the Mexican people for generations to come.


Football holds a special place in Mexican society and culture. Whether it is called football or soccer, the sport has a deep-rooted connection to the Mexican people. The passion and love for the game are evident in the rich history, dedicated fans, and talented players that contribute to the vibrant football culture in Mexico.

Mexican football culture is not just about the matches themselves but also about the sense of identity and pride that it brings to the nation. The sport serves as a symbol of unity and brings people together, transcending social and cultural barriers. It is a common language that is spoken and understood by millions of Mexicans.

From the neighborhood streets to the iconic stadiums, football is woven into the fabric of everyday life in Mexico. The cheers, chants, and celebrations that accompany every game are a testament to the enthusiasm and camaraderie that football inspires. Mexican football culture is a true reflection of the passion and spirit of the Mexican people.


Does Mexico call soccer football?

In Mexico, the term “fútbol” is commonly used to refer to the sport. However, due to the influence of English-speaking countries, the term “soccer” is also used, especially in official and international contexts.

What is the most popular sport in Mexico?

Association football, commonly known as soccer, is Mexico’s most popular team sport.

What is the national sport of Mexico?

Charrería, a style of rodeo, is the national sport of Mexico and dates back to the 16th century.

What other sports are popular in Mexico?

Mexicans also follow boxing, basketball, American football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, motorsports, taekwondo, and cycling. Baseball is the most popular sport in some areas.

How long has football been played in Mexico?

Football has been played in Mexico since the late 19th century when it was introduced by English Cornish miners. It became a professional sport in 1943.

What are some famous Mexican football players?

Mexico has produced several football legends, including Hugo Sánchez, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, and Rafael Márquez.

What is the significance of football in Mexican society?

Football plays a significant role in Mexican society. It serves as a source of national pride, unites communities, and promotes a sense of identity.

What is the future of football in Mexico?

Football continues to grow in popularity in Mexico, with increased investment in infrastructure, youth development, and the professional leagues.

How does football reflect Mexico’s cultural identity?

Football in Mexico reflects the country’s cultural identity and serves as a representation of Mexican pride and unity. The sport embodies the values of teamwork, passion, and perseverance, which are integral to Mexican culture.