2018 and Anaheim’s Dreamer in El Equipo de Todos (“everybody’s team”)

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The year 2018 will include numerous elections that may reflect the impact of the Trump’s presidency, if he has not been impeached by then due to the alleged Russian interference in the election.  It is also the year that Russia will hold the Soccer’s World Cup tournament.  The awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 to Qatar was so controversial that it triggered the suspension of officials of the soccer governing body.  The USA has played a surprising role investigating corruption at FIFA.

The United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) participation in the 2018 tournament is in danger of not automatically qualifying, after losing its first two matches in the qualifiying rounds. The German-born manager of the team, Jurgen Klinsmann, a resident of Huntington Beach, was replaced by Italian-American Bruce Arena.  In the first game under Arena this past March, the USA beat Honduras 6-0 , bringing the team’s back in track to advancing.

The match against Honduras was unique due to the score and because it fielded a player from Anaheim, Jorge Villafaña. He had been the captain of the Anaheim High School’s soccer team, and in 2007 won a reality show that led to a try-out with the professional Major League Soccer (MLS). He was recruited by the defunct Chivas USA club, then moved to the Portland Timbers, which won the league championship in 2015.  He is now playing with a Mexican First Division team.

The reality show that opened up his career in professional soccer was called Sueño MLS. Although born in Anaheim, he shares some characteristics of the other Dreamers.  The migration of his family from Mexico as well as his pursuit of the American dream, and his integration to the US society, show a similar experience and goals.

The reality of the current Dreamers is unfortunately not a show, it is a rather cruel reality.  The threat of being deported has jeopardized their future in the country they have grown up, and where they would like to remain. The pressure from religious organizations,  especially evangelical Latinos who voted for Trump, has contributed  to momentarily put in suspense a more definitive action against them. These organizations are also advocating against the deportation and separation of families.

The negative attitude about immigrants has become overtly aggressive within a minority of the public. This has been inflamed by the intentionally promoted misconception that protecting immigrants include the protection of felons. We are stuck with the dilemma between those of us who believe that deporting hard-working immigrants and breaking up families is inhumane, and those who believe that undocumented people broke the immigration laws and should be deported.

The code word in my neighborhood on this issue is “overcrowding”. Too many people living in houses that used to be occupied by smaller families, too many cars making the parking spaces scarce, too much noise in the streets that used to be quiet. Through a social networking application that ends up being used as a Neighborhood Watch,  information and opinions are quickly spread. Sensitive issues are subtly discussed, such as whether a Hispanic grocery store would be acceptable in the empty space left by the Ralph’s market.

I ‘d like to think that the main concerns about the undocumented can be addressed in a comprehensive immigration reform. Through this type of reform the fabric of our society will maintain the vibrancy that has characterized this country. It will continue to be what in the soccer community the USMNT is called “El Equipo de Todos.”  2018 could be a decisive year in which the 1984 Orwellian’s demagoguery of Trump and the callousness of Paul Ryan will be left behind.


About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/12/caterpillars-crossing-in-a-city-at-a-crossroads/