Baseball is the national sport of baseball but increasingly the youth of the island nation are turning to soccer.
President Obama caught the game between Cuba’s national team and the Tampa Bay Rays during his visit last week but even in the stands some of the talk was about soccer.
NPR looked into this trend in their article ‘Soccer Wins Over New Generation of Fans in Cuba’
World Soccer Shop saw firsthand the love for the beautiful game especially by the younger generations when traveling with the New York Cosmos on their trip to the island last June. And these fans don’t only have a passion for the local game but a strong connection with the game outside their borders.
Related Article: Cuba Rich in the Colors of the World
Fans were seen wearing a diverse set of jerseys form Real Madrid to Barcelona to the German and Brazilian national teams. And fans are not just following well-known teams but also top players. Jerseys were customized with the like of Raul, not so surprising considering he was on the Cosmos team, Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Totti, Ibrahimovic and others.
It is no surprise that the game is catching on. As Jorge Luis Obret told NPR at a soccer training session in soccer you only need 1 ball for 15 to 20 players with baseball ‘You need bats, gloves, a lot of stuff. It’s cheaper to play soccer.’
And it is not only on local fields were the game is improving. The Cuba national soccer team are still inconsistent but have advanced to the elimination round of the Gold Cup in the last 2 tournaments.
What do you think, is soccer becoming the new national pastime in Cuba?