In Mexico, soccer, or known locally as fútbol, started developing independently in different regions of the country. The first organized championship was called the Primera Fuerza.
The Primera Fuerza was a semi-professional league that consisted of various teams around the Federal District area. During this time, professional leagues were rising around Europe. While Mexico did not have a professional league, this was the beginning of modern soccer in Mexico.
Formation of FMFA
In 1929, the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación (FMFA) was officially inducted as a member of FIFA. At this moment in history, FIFA was still gaining strength as the international soccer governing body. The new Mexican FA officially became a member of FIFA in the same year and participated in the first World Cup with the newly formed Mexican National Soccer Team.
World Cup Blunders
Although Mexico participated in the first World Cup in Uruguay, they were far from the favorites. After unsuccessful attempts to return to the World Cup, the Mexican national team finally earned their qualification in 1950. Mexico was now a regular participant at the Copa Mundial but was bested by the more professional European and South American opposition. They only recorded one win, against Czechoslovakia in 1962, in 5 world cup tournaments.
Hosting the World Cup
To promote the country’s economy, Mexico won the bid and hosted the World Cup in 1970. Playing at home, Mexico reached the quarter-finals, which is the best finish the Mexican National Team has on the world stage to date.
Mexico would go on to host the World Cup yet again in 1986. This world cup is considered by many to be the most entertaining world cup ever. In this edition of the world cup, again on home soil, Mexico was able to equal their previous record and reached the quarter-finals.
In the modern game, reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup is considered quite an achievement. Unfortunately, the Mexican national team has not recreated its successes from the 70s and 80s.
The iconic 1970 FIFA World Cup official match ball. Adidas only produced twenty to use during the 1970 World Cup held in Mexico. The company went on to sell over 600,000 replicas.
Continental Club Successes
On the club side of things, however, things are looking brighter. The Mexican league system is one of CONCACAF’s wealthiest and prestigious competitions. The Mexican clubs consistently take part and win the CONCACAF Champions League. Additionally, a few Mexican clubs have been invited to participate in the Copa Libertadores, a competition typically reserved for South American (CONMEBOL) clubs.