Gold Cup Runneth Over at Home Depot Center

A tense moment in the stands passes as the game carries on in its historic role as a keystone of community.

A sea of Salvadoran fans supporting their national team.

The 2009 Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Gold Cup kicked off at The Home Depot Center, Carson, California in front of a sold out crowd for a doubleheader: Canada vs. Jamaica and Costa Rica vs. El Salvador.

This was my first international soccer game. It was great, two matches for one ticket. There was non-stop action on and off the field, with 27,000 fans on hand to back their team for the Gold Cup qualifier. Some cheered with banners and flags from their native country and faces painted in their teams’ colors. El Salvador fans were everywhere — a sea of blue and white colors to show support. The energy from the crowd was amazing.

A handful of Costa Rican fans and a number of Jamaicans were a small island in that sea of blue and white when they stood to celebrate a goal. There were tense moments as passionate El Salvadoran fans yelled at them to sit down. The tension passed, though, and El Salvador survived the lone goal against them, winning a 2-1 win. Canada cruised to a 1-0 victory over Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

Soccer is very famous around the world as supported by many teams around the globe. Known as football outside America, the sport plays a major role in shaping the lives of young and old alike. This worldwide phenomenon has made the sport more than just a game — it’s an affection and conviction, a passion and unification. The game brings pride to fans and inspires loyalty to their teams.

Jamaican fans showing their allegiance.

The history of soccer is one of community — clubs are formed by the youth in the community and provides for good rivalry and entertainment for ‘footballers’.

According to the Federation of Football Association (FIFA) evidence shows similar activity of kicking a ball in a precise manner is traced back more than 2,000 years ago in a province of China. But the official invention of the sport which we know in our modern time is on 1863 which is the same year when the Football Association was formed in England. The Laws of the Game was also created which had been the basis of how the sport is played in modern time.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup is the biennial nations’ championship for North and Central America and the Caribbean, and is the confederation’s premier event. The Gold Cup evolved from a series of championships in the region dating back to 1941.

At times the CONCACAF championship also served as a qualifier for the World Cup, but since its inception it has remained an independent championship irrespective of other tournaments. Once every four years, the winner of the Gold Cup serves as the region’s entrant to the FIFA Confederations Cup.

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Sheannette Virtue is a writer for Carib Press.

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