The Dynamo take on Mexican club Atletico San Luis this weekend which leads us to an interesting question. Can LigaMX fans become MLS fans?
I’m sure you may have heard my story before, or at least something similar, but maybe putting my story into words, someone can relate with it or even spark a realization. Atletico San Luis from LigaMX is coming to town Saturday night and with it bringing a lot of fans of Mexican soccer to PNC Stadium. But, can you be a fan of both LigaMX and Major League Soccer? I say, why not?
My name is Rudy Segura and I was born in Mexico City. I’ve seen pictures of me as a kid wearing a full Pumas UNAM kit and my younger brother, Rodrigo, rocking an Atlante one. (At that time Atlante was one of the teams in Mexico City but later relocated to a different city along side Club Necaxa.) Yet, somehow my dad was a Club Deportivo Guadalajara aka Chivas fan. It is really odd now looking back because it would be like if you were a Real Madrid fan living in Barcelona! Like any kid, I wanted to be just like my dad, so it was an easy choice to be a Chivas fan like he was.
When I was 8 years old, my parents decided to move to the United States to give my brother and I a better life. In the beginning, it wasn’t. I remember not having much and having to sleep on a hard mattress on the floor. My mom and dad worked really long days and soon enough the move looked more like the American Dream that they had envisioned for our family. Through the rough times and hard work weeks, we happily anticipated the 90 minutes that we would get to watch our team, Chivas play. Win or lose, there was no better time to spend with family and passionately watch the game on the edge of our seat.
My dad would save every penny when we knew Chivas would come to Houston for exhibition matches. The thrill of getting a live glimpse of the players you see on television was better than Christmas, if you asked younger me. My dad, Rodrigo, and I always had a blast.
My senior year of high school, in 2006, I had friends that wouldn’t stop talking about a team called the Dynamo and how they were playing a final. It didn’t mean much to me at the time. At the time, there was a park in Pearland where my brother and I would ride our bikes often to play soccer. One of those afternoons, to our surprise, Houston Dynamo had a community event and we got to meet Stu Holden and got a couple autographs. Soon after that we went to our first match at Robertson Stadium. Sadly, it wasn’t necessarily to watch the Dynamo but their rivals. Whether it was to catch Cuauhtémoc Blanco and the Chicago Fire, Ramon Ramirez and Chivas USA or Rafa Márquez and the New York Red Bulls, we would go to see the Mexican players who we watched on television that had made their move to Major League Soccer.
Being a full time Dynamo fan was never something I thought about, but when I finally had a good job, I would make it a thing to gift my dad and my brother with tickets to watch the Dynamo vs anyone. Eventually life is life and by 2014 I didn’t have time to make it out to any matches until the 2017 Western Conference Finals against Seattle Sounders, my dad’s birthday gift. The stadium was full, the atmosphere was something I dreamed off, and even though the result wasn’t in favor of Houston, I count it as a top match in my book. That day was when I knew I was a Dynamo fan forever.
I am 32 years old now and I’ve never been to a Chivas match in Mexico. Heck, I’ve never been to a match in Mexico period. However, any time the Mexican National Team or Chivas come to Houston, I’m there. Since 2018 I’ve been a Dynamo season ticket holder. I was at the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final. I can probably count on one hand how many home matches I’ve missed since becoming a STH.
I tell you all of this because soon enough the Dynamo will welcome the arrival of a star, a Mexican international that many like myself have been asking for. Hector Herrera may not be Carlos Vela or Chicharito, but having a player of his stature, a captain of the national team and World Cup veteran, is huge on so many levels for the city and the team. He may be the last piece that many like me were looking for to follow the home team, our Houston Dynamo.
Today, I’m the guy you see always wearing Dynamo gear. I’m the one inviting my family to games and I’ve even converted my dad and my brother to follow the team as much as I do. Of course, I still get negative comments like “you only care for the Dynamo” or “you’re probably the only one at the stadium”, but that doesn’t really bother me. I believe you should always remember where you come from and the ties that you have to a team. Colors run deep in your family, but Houston is our city, and we are a city of soccer. My hope is that living in a beautiful and diverse city, whether you are from Mexico like me, or from Argentina, Spain, England, or wherever, that you would visit PNC Stadium and support the Dynamo.