Well it’s been four days since I began my two week volunteer program in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito and from a footballing and cultual point of view it has so far been an amazing experience.
Like every other South America country, it is clear that football takes presidence over any other sport in Ecuador and indeed over most other key aspects of culture. The very fact that for fives day per week, every week, the team I have been coaching practices for two solid hours in the afternoon, is proof enough on how serious football is taken in this relatively small country.
In terms of the major following of teams in Ecuador there is a real mix of favourite clubs both domestic and European. Both Manchester United and Barcelona are well supported in Ecuador as well as a few of the countries national sides including a different Ecuadorian club in the country’s top division also called Barcelona. After only being in the country less than a day I already felt really welcome. On the morning of my arrival, I walked into a local restaurant to grab some breakfast and whilst wearing a Barcelona shirt I immediately received a warm greeting by a gentleman at the front of the bar who stood up and said to me ‘You support Barcelona! That is excellent, welcome to my country my friend!’
From that moment on I knew I would have no trouble fitting in here and in my first week coaching children at the local school I have learnt a lot about the country’s attitudes towards Spanish football. There are a great deal of Barcelona fans out of the group of kids I coach but that still didn’t stop a heated debate today over who was the better team out of Real Madrid and Barcelona!
Stay tuned for more updates about my time spent in Ecuador, including photos, news and interviews from the country’s football fanatics!
Adios for now!