The Role of Soccer in Latin American Culture

By | February 6, 2015

From a young age I was exposed to soccer as huge component of Latin American culture, my father is a huge soccer fan and would often get together with his friends to watch games over the weekend or listen to games on the radio. When he got together with friends to watch the games it would always be structured as a whole event with an accompanying lunch, dinner, or even party and everyone’s family would attend as well. From this experience soccer seems to be more than just a common interest, it seemed to be a component of Latin American culture.

Soccer arrived in Latin America in the late 1800s with a large influx of Europeans and since then has exploded in popularity, dominating as the most popular sport (by a large margin) in almost all Latin American countries. Soccer started as a sport played mainly by affluent Europeans, but quickly spread throughout the culture, its low barrier to entry allowing for people of all socioeconomic classes to play. Latin America has had a long, complex history of race and class issues that have divided people. In many ways, soccer has become intertwined with Latin American culture as it has acted as a common interest for people of all races, origins, and cultures in Latin America. Bridging gaps and prejudices that are commonplace in countries such as Brazil and Argentina. Because of this power, soccer has acted as almost a religion or major cultural component that people from all over Latin America can come together over.

Pele, arguably the best soccer player of all time.

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