Action from Sanfrecce Youth vs. Chivas. (Photo by Stephen Packer)
Originally published Aug. 26, 2009.
Editor’s Note: Sanfrecce Update will be a recurring feature this year from Hiroshima-ken JET Stephen Packer, who maintains the “¡Sanfrecce Olé!” blog. Stephen, based in Itsukaichi City, will contribute regular updates on the progress of the Sanfrecce Hiroshima Football Club.
By Stephen Packer
The Balcom BMW Cup 2009 concluded last Wednesday, with Sanfrecce Hiroshima Youth running out eventual champions. The close-fought competition saw Sanfrecce Youth and a Hiroshima High Schools Selection face off against Chivas U17 (Deportivo Guadalajara of Mexico) and Ajax Cape Town U17 (South Africa) in a round-robin format.
This is the second time that Sanfrecce Youth have won this tournament, which is in its fourth year. They first won it in 2007. The city has played host to youth teams from Spain, Brazil, France and Holland in the past.
Chivas (“the Goats” in Spanish), returned to Hiroshima this year as the reigning champions, having won the competition in 2008. They played out a draw in a friendly match against FC Tokyo Youth, before travelling down to Hiroshima.
Their senior team is one of the two most successful teams in Mexican footballing history, albeit one with rather eccentric selection policies. For over a century now, Chivas has enforced a Mexican-only rule, which has recently become enshrined in a bylaw, according to the LA Times.
Although most likely illegal if the club were based in the European Union for example, the law is proving a big selling point for the club, as well as its equally eccentric owner, Jorge VERGARA. Says he: “One day when I was 11 or 12, I thought, ‘Why do you wear socks?'” Vergara has apparently remained sock-free ever since, in much the same way that Chivas has remained free of non-Mexicans.