Today I get to write about one of my favorite subjects, football, or as they call it here in Mexico, Football Americano. This is such a thing as the Organizacion de Football Americano here in Mexico, and there is a team and a league in Chetumal. There are also teams in Merida, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Cozumel.
The team and league in Chetumal is called Buhos De Chetumal.
The main objective of this club is to prepare young competitive in football practice, in an organized and professional manner. The Head Coach of the team is Fernando Gonzalez, and he works for the Department of Tourism in Chetumal.
Last week I got to sit down and talk to him and his family here in Chetumal. This all came about because I have developed a reputation here in Mahahual, as being Mr. American Football, I guess. People here in Mahahual have found out I used to play and coach football, so a lot of people are always talking football with me around here. I also either wear Gamecock football hats, or some other football hats around town, so I attract a lot of attention.
A couple of weeks ago one of the taxi cab drivers here came up to me and started asking me questions about football. I have told some of the Mexican guys on the malecon, that I coached Brandon Bennett when he was young, and he ended up going to the University of South Carolina, and playing in the NFL for almost ten years. So the taxi cab driver asked me if it was true I coached an NFL player. I told him I guess so, if you wanted to put it that way. He then asked me if I minded meeting his friend Fernando Gonzalez, who coached the Buhos team in Chetumal, the next time he came to Mahahual. I said sure no problem.
Well last weekend we sat down on the beach here, and talked some football. Fernando told me his team and league were trying to promote football in Chetumal. They league is for players from the age of 6 to 22 years old. They have flag football teams for the younger kids, and start full contact football with pads for kids 14 years and older.
He told me there are about 400 participants in Chetumal, and about 3,000 participants in Quintana Roo. The teams travel to places like Cozumel, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen to play games. He said they get around 300 spectators at every game. The organization also holds clinics to get youth interested in American football. Also both boys and girls are allowed to play.
What is funny, when I lived in Caldaritas near Chetumal, I used to take the bus back from Chetumal in the evening. On the route back to where I was staying, I used to see people out practicing and going through football drills through my bus window. I stopped a couple of times to watch the team practice, and who would have thought I would later meet the coach here in Mahahual.
Fernando played football himself when he was younger, and his son now plays free safety on the Buhos team. Fernando has been involved with the league and team for five years.
The league resumes in October, and then again in March, so I plan on going to watch a game. We also discussed starting a league or team here in Mahahual. It costs around 7,000 pesos (around $400 usd) to fully equip a player for full contact football. This includes pads, helmet, uniforms, all the equipment. It also costs around 210,000 pesos (about $10,000), to start an organization like his in Chetumal.
The first step here in Mahahual I guess would be to start a flag football league for the young kids, and go from there. So if anyone out there is interested in sponsoring a flag football league or team here in Mahahual, get in touch with us.
The Buhos are also interested in sponsors or advertisers for there league in Chetumal. So if you are interested contact Fernando Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call him at 983-104-1092.
If you are coming to Mahahual on a cruise or vacation, and want to help out, we will take anything you want to bring to give to the players and league. Footballs, tees, jerseys, t-shirts, and anything else you might have will being greatly appreciated. Donations will also be accepted.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina