The Inside Scoop on Fútbol Jerseys
Are you an aficionado of the “beautiful game”? This is what many in Mexico and Latin America call fútbol, although we norteamericanos call it soccer. Even if you don't like the game, you or someone you know might like the colorful fútbol jerseys worn by fans around the world.
Futbol is the most popular professional sport in Mexico and the legions of fans show their support by wearing a wide variety of colorful team jerseys. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received appreciative nods of recognition from people in Merida when they see me wearing a jersey with their favorite team colors.
But you don’t necessarily have to be a fan to wear a jersey. The logos and colors are also fashionable and the jerseys look great with jeans. My love for the game and my cutting edge fashion sense has led me to track down the best places in Merida to pick up authentic jerseys or less expensive knock-offs. I also play fútbol and when I show up on the field in the spring with new jerseys most players are surprised by the good-looking and rare-in-the-US Mexican team jerseys. The great prices (usually about $12-16 USD) are an added plus. Interested? Here’s what I’ve found so far.
I have purchased authentic Mexican team jerseys in Mexico City and Morelia and they sell for up to $70 USD in those cities. By way of comparison, Eurosport, the main US catalog supplier for all things soccer, sells authentic Mexican team jerseys for $60-70 US. For authentic Mexican and European jerseys in Merida, I’ve noticed a good selection at the Deportivo Mundo, with two locations at the Gran Plaza. They carry a wide selection of quality sports gear and have real Nike and Adidas futbol shoes as well, both cleated and indoor. Prices, however, are no discount unless you catch a sale: look for the signs announcing una rebaja (lowered prices) or un remate (closing prices).
A reasonable selection of Adidas and Puma brand jerseys can also be found at Sports Time Merida #498D on Prolongacion Montejo. This bright, airy store is located just a little past the Monumento de la Bandera. Prices for jerseys are the usual $70 USD and up. Sports Time also carries futbol shoes and other sports gear.
The authentic jerseys are nice, but if you make the effort, you can get great deals on good-looking copies from a much wider selection of designs. I rate the copied jerseys “A” and “B” grade. “A” grade has embroidered patches, real piping and side vents. Not only are they neat to wear, but they are good to walk around or play in since they vent the heat. Prices for “A” jerseys are usually $140-160 pesos, or about $14-16 USD. Outside of Los Angeles you can’t find this selection in the States, and never at that price!
“B” grade jerseys may have one logo embroidered but all else is printed on, including a print of the mesh where the piping and vents should be. Prices for “B” are usually $120 pesos or $12 US. A number of souvenir stores in the Centro area carry a few jerseys, mostly cheap copies that I would rate “C” , even though they sell for the same amount as “A” grade jerseys. Avoid those at all costs. When you look closely at them the printing is even sometimes blurred.
One note: Generally, there are only two sizes, adult and large child/teen. If you wear a small or medium size don’t worry. Try them on, you’ll often find that a large jersey looks okay.
Ready to start shopping for bargains?
For “A” quality copies of the more expensive futbol jerseys, the best source is Campos Sports in the Centro. Campos is owned by the friendly Sr. Marcos Perez Campos. The shop is small but it’s packed full of Mexican and European A and B grade jerseys, shorts, socks, hats, back bags and other gear. Some of the backpacks are really popular with teens. They have special pockets for ipods and MP3 players and best of all, they’re only $100 pesos. You can’t beat that anywhere.
Campos also has jerseys for younger kids. Sr. Perez Campos only speaks Spanish but he is patient and helpful. His shop is located on Calle 59 #485, just a few stores east of Calle 58, just two blocks off the Plaza Grande.
With close to 100 different jerseys you might be wondering which is the best. You can ask Señor Campos, “Cual es el mejor?” He’ll probably point out the jerseys for the Chivas de Guadalajara team. They are known widely as just plain Chivas; Chivas is the top winner of all Mexican league teams with 11 wins. They are famous for being the only historically all-Mexican team and for that reason they are a special source of pride. Sr. Campos prides himself on his wide selection of Chivas attire and frankly, they are attractive shirts. Even if you don't like the Chivas designs, with such a wide selection of colors and designs, I’m sure there is something for your taste at Campos.
For a good selection of “B” jerseys, along with a good selection of hats, packs, and tracksuits, try Owen Sport. This large shop is on the south side of the zocalo on Calle 62 between 63 and 65, again just two blocks away from the Plaza Grande.
Once you have your handsome new jersey, where can you watch fútbol in Merida? There are no shortage of games being played and televised, so there is always something to watch. In addition to the weekly Mexican league games, there are a bevy of international tournaments, the English Premier, Spanish La Liga and the US Major League Soccer (MLS), where, incidentally, there is a Chivas USA team.
For watching fútbol there are at least two good places I’m familiar with in Merida. The popular La Parranda on Calle 60 between 61 and 59 has a satellite TV system with at least five channels of fútbol. Most are Mexican and Latin American but there is one Fox Sports World channel that has international (European) games.
The best place, however, might be Food and Go, a fútbol-themed sports bar on Prolongacion Montejo at Calle 41 (Frac Emiliano Zapata Norte), north of Calle 21. They have several very large TV’s outside and inside, a wide selection of beer and other drinks, and a decent selection of Tex-Mex entrées. The food is good; the portions are generous and not too expensive. It’s a great place to watch a game like a local and a great place to show off your new jersey.
Omar Bravo, one of the stars of the last World Cup, plays for the Chivas team. He is the subject of much adulation from teenage girls in Mexico. You can see why here.
Wikipedia weighs in on Chivas USA.
There is a monton of information on the web about soccer teams. If you're interested, we're sure you can take it from here).