It is most likely common knowledge that soccer (futbol) is the popular sport in Colombia. Many other sports are played from what I have read. However, soccer is king, and that is something about which I am very happy. Being a former player, coach, and all around enthusiast for the game, I feel a bit giddy when I think of how accessible the sport will be to me and my family while in Colombia.
I have done some preliminary searching of professional soccer clubs, especially for opportunities for youth development. I hope to have a post at some point dedicated solely to that topic. For now, I thought it might be interesting for others to learn a bit more about the sport in Colombia in general.
Honestly, prior to a few months ago, my only knowledge of soccer in Colombia was informed by stereotype (all latin americans love soccer) and bad press, such as the assassination of a Colombian team player after a tough World Cup loss a few tournaments ago. My only knowledge of any Colombian player was that of Carlos, "El Pibe", Valderrama:
and his signature bronze colored afro. I watched him play many times on television and always admired his skill in the midfield.
Colombia does have a professional league with many teams (maybe 20 or so in the first division) According to a few websites there are a couple of professional Colombian teams in Bogota that have a large following and a strong rivalry: Los Milionarios and Independiente de Sante Fe. Their websites (in spanish) are:
Apparently their are regular professional games at El Campin, the nacional stadium, each Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon and tickets seem quite affordable. I believe this stadium is the home location for Los Millonarios. It just so happens we may live in fairly close proximity to the stadium.
It is recommended that we become educated on safety issues during games. Probably much like parental behavior at an American U10 soccer game! Seriously, I have seen some intense video of these games ( I am referring to the professional Colombian games...but I have seen parents get in a fist fight at a U10 game).
In time I suppose I'll have to decide on a team to follow. Such decisions. I have such a high regard for the game and ethos of soccer, in comparison to American football for example. I wonder how that will change after living in a country that places professional soccer players in the spotlight.