Players and supporters: perhaps the greatest common balance in the history of football. Players play, supporters support, and the universal game carries on. Autographs and tifos have traditionally reciprocated tributes between the two, but occasionally either side will offer up an exceptional example of dedication to the other.
In 2007, Carlos Luquin moved to San Antonio, Texas from Panorama, California, also the hometown of San Antonio Scorpions F.C. and El Salvador national team midfielder Richard Menjivar. What’s more is that Carlos’ family too is from El Salvador. If this fateful occurrence inspired allegiance to the Alamo City club, meeting Menjivar at a fall 2014 season ticket holder event only fulfilled the bond. “We started talking about the neighborhood more than anything, more than football. [We were] just talking about how much has changed or what’s going on now. That was cool.”* Carlos shared, “Plus he’s also from Salvador. My mom’s from Salvador. So that’s another part of my heritage or my culture that I also acknowledge and like [in Menjivar].”* But it wasn’t long before the devotion was repaid. In late February, 2015, after a long battle with diabetes and thyroid complications, 39 year old Carlos suffered not one, but two heart attacks only one week apart. He would undergo triple bypass heart surgery in early March, but the day before the operation, an unexpected visitor would surprise the fan. Still dressed in his Scorpions polo and offering a Scorpions championship pennant signed by the front office, Zach Wendel, Carlos’ season ticket representative, was there to lend his own support. “I was just there bored out of my mind and he showed up. I really felt grateful that I was able to say, “Thanks for being here, man. You didn’t have to do this.”I consider him a friend of course.”*, Carlos described the moment, pausing periodically to catch his breath.
With the charity-based Soccer for a Cause as the stated mission of the Hartman ownership, it should come as no shock that Toyota Field’s employees are taking it upon themselves to champion these values off the pitch. But it doesn’t stop at the staff-level. During a June, 2014 friendly between El Salvador and Spain, Richard Menjivar presented La Roja boss, Vicente del Bosque, with a signed jersey and ball for his son, Álvaro, who lives with Down syndrome. From the pre-Scorpions Morgan’s Wonderland to last weekends visit from Michael Kelley, Scorps are reigning champs in more than one way. As for Carlos, he attended the home opener vs Tampa Bay Rowdies. Although the 1-3 result in favor of the Florida club wasn’t the best end to the night, for Carlos, his friends, and family, being there again was a victory.
*Interview with Carlos Luquin conducted 31 March, 2015.
Edited 09 August, 2015.