International 101: Club América

Club América brings history to Portland

Daniel Montenegro, Club America

Photo Credit: 
(Getty Images)

The Portland Timbers will open the doors at the JELD-WEN Field this July 7 of 2011 (8pm PT, Live webstream in English & Spanish at www.portlandtimbers.com, 750 AM The Game, La Pantera 940 AM - TICKETS), for a friendly match against one of the most popular Mexican teams, Club América, represented by its flying mascot the Eagle (or in Spanish, Aguilas).

Club América is one of the most followed and popular teams in Mexico with over 95 years of experience and more then 33 titles in different championships and tournaments, which makes Club América one of the most successful teams in the world.

History
Club América is based in one of the largest soccer capitals. Club América performs in the First Division, which is the top professional league of their nation--Mexico. The team wields an eagle as their mascot, representing the iconic eagle on the Mexican flag. This eagle reinforces concepts of liberty and strength of a nation, which is why Club América is nicknamed “Aguilas”.

The name “América” was suggested because the team was founded on Columbus Day (the day of the discovery of América) and it stuck. The colors of the team are a light blue and soft yellow that they have proudly carried since their foundation in 1916. 

Logo
The Eagles (or Spanish, Aguilas) have created a large fan base that proudly dubbed themselves  “Américanistas” who attend every home game with religious fervor so as to watch their team play at one of the largest soccer stadiums in Mexico, known as Estadio Azteca. This stadium is a colossal facility with a capacity to fit 105,000 people with an average attendance of 41,223. Estadio Azteca has held great matches, such as the World Cup in 1986 that featured one of the World’s most iconic soccer players, Diego Maradona. It was in this stadium in the 1986 final that Maradona scored the infamous “Hand of God” against England.

Key Figures
Many important Mexican and international soccer players have played for Club América, among them include such greats as Hugo Sanchez, Antonio Carlos Santos, Alfedo Tena, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Luis Roberto Alvez Zague and Carlos Reinoso, all of which has helped to build the strong foundation of the team.

Through the life of Club América, the team has been blessed with great managers who have led the team to the upper echelon in Mexico.  Some of these managers are remember for their own successful careers as soccer players, such as Marcelo Alfio Basile, Marcelo Bielsa, Carlos Miloc, Leo Benhaker, Manuel Lapuente and Carlos Reinoso. However, Carlos Reinoso is considered the greatest “Américanista” of all time and he is the current manager of Club América.

Notable Current Players
Ángel Reyna, F:
Reyna's 13 goals for América in the 2011 were most on the team and the most in Mexico's Primera Division. Reyna has been a household name for América since he joined the club in 2008 and has netted 26 goals in 81 appearances in that time. Reyna has also earned eight caps with the Mexican national team, four of them coming in the 2011 Gold Cup. Reyna appeared as a substitute in three matches and started in Mexico's 5-0 victory over Cuba.

Daniel Montenegro, M:
Montenegro has been a staple in Club América's midfield since 2009. The Argentine led América with five assists in the 2011 campaign and has added 13 goals in 58 appearances with América. Montenegro also has two Argentine league championships to his name while playing for Argentine clubs Independiente, and River Plate. Montenegro has also earned six caps for the Argentine national team.

Óscar Rojas, D:
In over 200 career appearances for Club América Rojas has won two championships with the club, the first coming in 2002 and his second in 2005. Rojas has been a key part in Club América's lineup since 2004 and was trained in the club's youth system before his professional debut in 2001. Rojas has received 18 caps for the Mexican national team and scored his lone international goal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in a 2-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

Jesús Molina, D:
Molina is a new addition to the Club América back line after spending the last five years with UANL Tigres. In 97 appearances for Tigres, Molina scored 10 goals while playing both defense and midfielder. Molina is known as a phenomenal passer with great heading skills, and at the young age of 23 has already made an appearance for the Mexican national team in a friendly against North Korea, when he came on for Chicharito in the 84th minute.

Armando Navarette, GK:
With the recent departure of Gabriel Ochoa, Navarette is the starting keeper in goal for Club América. Navarette has been a member of Club América since the 2006 season, when he was named to Mexico's World Cup team in 2006. In his career Navarette has made 31 total appearances for América, most notably a 1-1 draw against Inter Milan in the 2009 World Football Challenge.

Notable Historic Players
Edvaldo Neto(commonly called Vavá)
A Brazilian striker widely considered one of the best scorers of his generation. Nicknamed "Peito de Aço" (Steel Chest), Vavá was a center forward who excelled at scoring for Club America from 1964-1967. Vavá is celebrated for his clutch scoring and winning pedigree as a member of the Brazilian national team.

Oscar Ruggeri
An Argentinean defender who played for Club America from 1992-1993. Nicknamed “El Cabezón” (The Big-Headed One) Ruggeri started his career at Boca Juniors, playing with Diego Maradona, with whom he won a league title in 1981.

Carlos Goytortúa
A striker who began his club career withAméricaduring the 1983 season and remained with the team until 1989, he scored 73 goals in 162 appearances. He spent most of his club career in his native Mexico, also playing for Monterrey, Cruz Azul, Necaxa, Atlante, and Chivas. Carlos spent his most productive years with Cruz Azul, where he scored 35 and 36 goals in the 1994-95 and 1995–96 seasons.

Luis "El Matador" Hernández
A forward who played for Club Américaand a number of Mexican clubs including Queretaro FC, Cruz Azul, CF Monterrey, Necaxa, UANL Tigres, CD Veracruz, and Jaguares de Chiapas. He was twice named Mexico's Player of the Year, in 1997 and 1998.

Cuauhtémoc Blanco
A midfielder who played for Club America from 1992-2007, scoring 125 career goals in 333 appearances with the team. Blanco won the Silver Ball and the Silver Shoe awards in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cupand has been awarded the MVPof the Mexican First League Division five times. He stands as the stands as the only Mexican football player with an award in a major international FIFAcompetition. Blanco was also a Designated Player with the Chicago Fire from 2007-2009.