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‘It Is America. But I Want to Play in Mexico.’

Some say it costs parents more money to develop their children as players in the United States because of the fees, for uniforms, leagues and referees, while Mexican clubs rarely ask for similar money upfront. Others say it actually costs more to get a talented player noticed in Mexico because there is still a prevalent culture of quid pro quo, in which coaches accept, or even solicit, money from players or their families in exchange for help in moving the player up the soccer ladder.

In places like El Paso, these sorts of dichotomies are constant. About 2.5 million people live in this region, and thousands cross the border every day for work or school, or to shop or see a doctor. “Home” may be on one side of the border, but family members often live on the other. Signs in stores are in English and Spanish. Conversations float between the two, and many Mexican-Americans speak with a crossover vocabulary.

Mexicans often refer to more extreme instances of this kind of Spanish as “pocho,” or inauthentic, and also use the term as a derogatory way to describe Americanized Mexicans who speak better English than Spanish. David…

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