The Origins of Club América and Mass Popularity

Tied for first heading into April 2024, Club América carries one of the richest histories in the storied football world on par with clubs such as Manchester City and Real Madrid. Created mainly by a group of college students over 100 years ago in 1916, Colegio Mascarones and Colegio Marista de la Perpetua consolidated their clubs in order to become more competitive in Mexico City.

Player Pedro “Cheto” Quintanilla is credited with the club’s name. Since the team was created on Columbus Day (Dia del descubrimiento de América) the club became “América” in honor of their founding day. So what has made this club one of the most popular in the world and named in 2021 as the International Federation of Football History’s “Best North American Club of the 21st Century’s first half?”

Origins of Club América

The 2024 season marks the 108th early of existence for one of North America’s most popular clubs. As their nickname “The Students” suggests, the club was founded by two groups of college students wanting to merge to make their team a formidable foe in the Mexican football world. With Columbus Day being the date of the club’s creation, Club América, was decided upon.

The color scheme of navy blue and yellow was credited to player Rafael Garza Gutiérrez. He found a pair of his father’s navy blue pants and a yellow shirt, thus piecing together the club’s first kit. Over time the crest of Club América would develop with the map of the Western Hemisphere and the “C” and “A” lettering.

Rapid Growth Through the 1940s

Primera Fuerza was Mexico’s premier Football division in 1916. In order to prove their worth in joining the elite company of clubs, Club América needed to have an amazing showing in three games.

Though only winning two and tying the third game, Club América was accepted for admittance into the league and would go on to win their first league title eight years later in the 1924-1925 season. Club América would not stop there, winning three in a row. Not only did Club América become the first Mexican club to play outside of Mexico, they also worked on keeping their team stocked with Mexican talent. The majority of the 1928 Summer Olympic and 1930 World Cup Mexican clubs consisted of Club América players.

The 1940s would lead to Club América’s greatest rivalry to date, its rivalry with Guadalajara. The clubs are both the only members of Liga MX with 108-straight seasons in the top division. Both clubs were also apart of the “current spell” of Liga MX, or how it is currently known, since the 1943-1944 season. The 1954 Copa Mexico final saw Club América win their first league title, defeating their rival in 0-0 on penalty kicks.

Popularity Boom; The “Golden Decade”

The 1980s are often referred to in the 100-plus year history of the club as the, “Golden Decade.” Not only did the club win five Liga MX league titles, but they would also be crowned the 1987 CONCACAF Champions’ Cup winners.

The series famously now known as the, “Final of the Century,” Club América would go on to defeat rival Guadalajara in their only finals meeting, which occurred in the 1983/1984 season.

The victory would also mark the fourth league title for Club América. Héctor Zelada held down the net in goalkeeping for the “Estudiantes” along with the club’s current all-time leading scorer, Luís Roberto Alves joining the squad in 1985, playing 12 seasons in the yellow and navy blue kit.

Club’s Support

The “hay day” of the 1980s is a major factor for Club América’s wave of popularity to still ride to this day. Several times has Club América been voted Mexico’s favourite club, especially in the 21st century.

Club América has has a strong United States following, proving to be in the top-10 of clubs considered fan-favourites, and the only club outside of Europe to crack the list. In 1959, the club would be purchased by Univision owner Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, and was often considered one of the most hated teams in Mexico. Fans either supported the club our found a hatred for Club América.

Milmo was looked at as often pushing the agenda of Club América being the club of the elite and powerful, often having a negative effect on the opinion of the “everyday” man. The flash and pizzazz, though, drew in many fans who were apart of that die-hard fan base the club would continue to grow leading to it’s “Golden Decade.”

The Club has also had many of the biggest sponsors in the world such as ATT, Home Depot, and Coca-Cola, just to name a very few. From 1990 all the way until 2017, Coca-Cola was a featured sponsor on the Club América kits. Currently, Caliente holds that positive. Grupo Caliente is one of the largest sports betting companies in Mexico today.

With the squad on pace for yet another Liga MX title, the popularity of the club will no doubt continue to grow keeping it on pace with the larger European clubs. The mystique around Club América has made it a crowd favorite and a club to hate by fans. Netflix even created a docuseries titled, “Club América vs Club América” looking at the ins and outs of the organization and what makes this club so special.

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