By: Jed Herrmann
For fans of all things goat-related (and there are plenty in Xela), it’s the season to leave the pastures (or more likely the bar) and head straight to Estadio Mario Camposeco for some futbol (or soccer, to you Americanos). Located just outside Democracia Market along 14 Avenida in Zone 3 (and a 10-minute walk from Central Park), the stadium is home to the Superchivos. Xela’s aptly named entrant into Liga Nacional, they are formally known as Xelaju, MC (previously discarded team names include Quetzaltenangoju and Germania*).
The Liga Nacional just began its current season, known as the Torneo Apertura (Opening Tournament) which, despite its name, confusingly takes place in the second half of the year, from July until December (and for calendar experts: yes, that’s right the closing tournament, or Clausura, takes place at the beginning of the year). As of press time, our local heroes were off to a most symmetrical 1-1-1 start. The year started off well when the Superchivos scored a victory over last season’s league runner up, Municipal.
This victory was especially sweet, as any meeting between these great rivals is known as the “clasico”- though every time Xelaju plays a game it seems to be denoted a “clasico” of some sort. It is also worth noting that historically there isn’t actually much classic about the rivalry: Municipal has won twenty-seven league championships to Xelaju’s four (which diehard fans will tell you is still the most of any team not based in the capital- take that Antigua!).
As for the upcoming schedule, the most anticipated game of the month is the August 17 match-up against defending champions Comunicaciones. Aside from the game (which only about half the people in the stadium are actually watching at any given time), some highlights will certainly include an in-seat fireworks display (somehow those fireworks always seem to get past security) and a musical performance (if you count the band leading the songs insulting the other team). Aside from firecracker-related eardrum damage, other stadium amenities include the winning combination of world-class snack options (though only if you would put into this elite category the largest basket of tostadas you’ve ever seen), warm sodas, and real third-world bathrooms (my advice: go before you come).
* In the category of fun fact of the month: the latter is actually true, reflecting the era when many of the players were of, you guessed it, German descent.