Catching up with Alberto Coyote

5 04 2010

Just because I have been covering baseball, doesn’t mean I’ve gotten away from futbol/soccer. Here’s something I wrote (it wasn’t published anywhere) about former CD Chivas de Guadalajara player Alberto Coyote and a soccer event right in my new neighborhood, South Phoenix.

PHOENIX – Alberto Coyote stood amid the leather recliners and sofas of Muebleria del Sol, a furniture store on the city’s west side, last Friday, far removed from his glory days with Club Deportivo Chivas de Guadalajara and the 54 caps with El Tri, the Mexican national team.

The diminutive former midfielder, now 43 and no taller than 5-foot-6, still stands tall, however.  He’s still beloved by Chivas faithful, and he still plays soccer and tours the U.S. any chance he gets. The love of the game brought him to Phoenix for a press conference at the furniture store that was more like a fan meet-and-greet, and to a dry, hard pitch at a local high school the next day to play a 6-on-6 match with other former Chivas teammates against former Club America players for charity. Saturday’s event included a clinic for kids.

Coyote and the players were also in town to hype up Easter Sunday’s Clasico between the current Chivas and America teams.

“They’re great fans, particularly of Chivas and America, too,” Coyote said of the vast numbers of Mexican soccer fans in the Valley of the Sun. “There are fans of Cruz Azul or Pumas that have support here, but basically, it’s Chivas.”

Former Mexican national team midfielder Alberto Coyote (middle, in white) meets the fans at a Phoenix furniture store last week.

Saturday at Carl Hayden High School, the Chivas’ signature red-and-white stripes outnumbered the yellow and blue of America in the bleachers. Hundreds of fans – many of them children and teenagers – came out to see the former stars at an event that went largely underpublicized.

Such a crowd made one wonder why soccer doesn’t have a bigger presence here, and that if a financially viable Mexican club like America were to do what Chivas did and venture into MLS with a franchise, why couldn’t it work?

Perhaps it’s just too hot to play soccer in this area in the summer, but the facilities are here. The University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale has a retractable roof and a grass surface, and only one tenant, the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. If the NFL and MLS can co-exist in Seattle, where soccer truly works, it stands to reason that Phoenix could have some success.

Building a facility with an indoor practice field should work, too, seeing as several surrounding communities have provided land and funding for the various spring training baseball complexes with their buildings and multiple fields. Furthermore, MLS teams like Seattle Sounders FC and and Kansas City and the Chicago Fire did preseason training here.

But back to Coyote, who said that Mexicans in the U.S. love their favorite Mexican sides, but there’s little animosity between Chivas and America supporters on this side of the border.

“I feel the kindness,” Coyote said. “The Chivas fans treat me very well, and the America fans also have a lot of respect for me and I feel glad to be able to chat with them.”

Coyote enjoys talking all things soccer. He thinks MLS has become more attractive to fans because clubs and the league are bringing in more international talent and that the league has a good future.  And of course, he predicts big things from El Tri at the World Cup this summer.

“I believe it has a lot of possibility to advance to the knockout stage,” Coyote said. “That includes that the team has what it takes to get to the semi-finals.”

As for the U.S. side, he thinks it will be strong because many players play in Europe.

“That’s always important, and besides that, they’re strong, fast and they have a good mentality,” Coyote said of the Yanks.

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3 responses

8 04 2010
Scott

Hi Jose,

I am a Seattle and now Phoenix transplant. I was in Arizona last year during the Sounders inaugural season and your Times blog was a way for me to follow the team from afar. I enjoyed your writing.

I wanted to turn you on to a local group in Phoenix that I was a part of while I lived there. It is called MLS Phoenix Rising. The group’s goal is to get an MLS team to Phoenix. There are definitely some hurdles to the process, but at the least, if you are looking for local soccer news and people, that is a good place to start.

Good luck on your new ventures and congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Enjoy the summer heat. 🙂

16 05 2011
Estuardo Cruz

Hola Jose:
Me da gusto saber que ha pasado con Alberto Coyote..fui amigo de El durante su epoca en Segunda division..en Salamanca,Guanajusto,, Gracias por traer un poco de recuerdos en tu espacio..Saludos a todos.

5 04 2012
Antonio esquivel

Es guanajuato y el es un familiar mio su tercer apeido es esquivel creo mismo que el mio y viene del mismo lugar que mi papa celaya guanajuato pero por supuesto somos familiares leganos

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