Mexican Soccer Match's Low-Fan Turnout Due To Juvenile World Cup, Puente Claims Credit Anyway

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A Mexican soccer match between Club America and Morelia at the University of Phoenix Stadium  on Sunday was hoping to draw 50,000 attendees, but fell way short of that mark. 

Actual attendance numbers were not announced, but a safe guess is less than 10,000.

The fans' favorite was America, which has a large following and is one of Mexico's oldest soccer teams. 

The team was founded in 1916, and was able to beat Morelia in a friendly 3-1game. Not that Morelia's a pushover. It came in second place in Mexico's first division championship last year.

Puente, a Phoenix-based human-rights group, had encouraged a boycott of the game, and promised a demonstration outside the stadium. But the group was a no-show.

Still, Puente's leader Sal Reza took credit for poor attendance at the event, claiming Puente's  boycott was a success.

"Getting the word out about the boycott helped a lot," Reza told New Times. "People are starting to listen."

Puente has carried on a campaign of boycotting Arizona because of its opposition to Arizona's immigration law, Senate Bill 1070.

​Adrian Quintero, one of the local promoters of the match, said the game's date was purposely chosen to compete with events leading up to the July 12 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Chase Field.

Promoters wanted to demonstrate that Latinos could hold a large sporting event as well, but attendance was nowhere near the 40,000-audience that the All-Star Game is expected to draw.
Sunday's game came a year after America had cancelled a similar match-up, because of its opposition to SB 1070. But Quintero, along with his partner Stuart Starky, convinced the Mexican team to visit the Valley regardless. 

Quintero said he seriously doubts Puente's boycott had anything to do with the low turnout.

The promoter contends there was only one factor that affected attendance Sunday -- Mexico's under-17 national team won the World Cup against Uruguay.

The America-Morelia match was taking place at the same time that local soccer fans were watching the under-17 World Cup game on TV. 

The Mexican juvenile team was able to win its second World Cup, 2-0.

"The only factor was that Mexico's sub-17 won the World Cup," Quintero says. "People stayed home to watch it."

Regardless of the turnout, Quintero and Starky say they will keep trying to bring international soccer teams to the Valley in the future. Hopefully with more success next time around.

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