The British soccer (fútbol) giants Manchester United have signed their first ever player from Mexico. Javier Hernández—”El Chicharito” (the Little Pea)—is a 21-year-old striker who has already scored four goals for Mexico in just four games, and is expected to play an important part in Mexico’s World Cup bid in South Africa in the summer. So far this season playing for Guadalajara-based Club Deportivo Guadalajara (better known as Chivas) in Mexico’s Primera División, Hernández has scored 10 goals in 11 matches, an outstanding strike rate, making him joint third in the goal-scoring charts.
And the origin of his nickname “El Chicharito”? Apparently, it comes from his father who was also a Chivas and Mexico soccer player, and whose nickname was “El Chicharo” (‘The Pea). Hernández’s grandfather also played for Chivas.
The deal between Manchester United and Chivas is worth about 9 million dollars. It includes an agreement for Manchester United to play Chivas in Guadalajara in July this year in a friendly game to mark the official opening of Chivas’ new 45,000-seat stadium prior to the start of the 2010/11 season. The new stadium is on the western edge of Mexico’s second city, and was designed by French firm Studio Massaud Pouzet and built by HOK (Mexico-USA).
The geography of soccer is increasingly tied to the forces of globalization. We’ll take a more in-depth look at the geography of soccer in Mexico in future posts.