FC Juárez is a Mexican football club based in the city of Ciudad Juárez. Located just south of the U.S border, Ciudad Juárez is the centre of drug trafficking and crime. In 2010, more than 3000 people were murdered, an average of almost 10 homicides per day. The people were looking for hope, something they found in FC Juárez. This is the story of FC Juárez: A club in the capital of murder.
Ciudad Juárez is a city known for its crime, murder, and drug trafficking. It’s the hometown of one of the biggest drug cartels from Mexico, the Juárez Cartel. The rivalry with the Sinaloa Cartel has turned Juárez into one of the most violent cities in the entire world. The Sinaloa Cartel declared war with the Juárez Cartel which resulted in more than 3000 homicides in 2010. This made Juárez the murder capital of the world.
Indios de Ciudad Juárez
Juárez had one major professional football club called Indios de Ciudad Juárez. The people saw Indios as an escape from reality. The fans could finally forget about all the violence in the city and cheer for 90 minutes. The club had a decent period and even got promoted from the Ascenso MX to the Liga MX in 2008. Due to mismanagement and financial issues, the club got relegated in 2010 and eventually got disbanded. The fans lost their only professional club in the city and with that, they also lost their hope. The only thing that was left was murder and crime. People would lock their doors and wouldn’t even leave the house when the sun went down. The drug war was hurting everyone, including Indios. Their youth-coach got killed in 2010 and also the brother of Indios’ star striker was a victim of the drug war in Ciudad Juárez. Nobody was safe.
The new face of Ciudad Juárez
After Indios got disbanded the people in Ciudad Juárez were in desperate need for a new community, something that could keep their head away from the murder and crime. Local businessman Federico de la Vega reinstated the city’s club as FC Juárez in May 2015. FC Juárez was born. Ciudad Juárez finally had a new face, a new image. FC Juárez gave the people what they were looking for, hope for a brighter future.
FC Juárez entered Mexican football in the 2nd division, the Ascenso MX. The Ascenso MX is divided into two parts: An opening stage, which is also known as the Apertura and a closing stage which is known as the Clausura. The eight best teams from the opening stage play against each other in a seeded playoff system. Ultimately, the winner of these playoffs wins the opening stage. The same goes for the closing stage, where the winner gets decided via a league-based playoff system. The winner of the opening stage plays a final at the end of the season against the winner of the closing stage. And finally, the winner of this game gets promoted to the Liga MX.
FC Juárez did great in their first ever opening stage, losing only twice. They finished 2nd on goal difference and qualified for the playoffs. They ended up winning the playoffs and therefore their first big prize only took them 7 months! After winning the opening stage they were on the brink of promotion with only one final left. But it wasn’t meant to be. FC Juárez faced Necaxa in the big final but they lost both games, meaning they would stay in the Ascenso MX.
Not to be confused with an actual cartel, El Cartél is the nickname of the supporters from FC Juárez. The fans embraced the name and stated they wanted to be `the cartel of the good ’. Many of the supporters lost their friends on the streets and FC Juárez really brings all these people together. These fans have gone through a lot and all share the same emotions and feelings. This creates a unique atmosphere and spirit in the stands which can’t be found anywhere else. The games are played in the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juárez, which can hold over 19.000 fans.
The future for FC Juárez looks bright. They are currently in the final of the closing stage and thus on the brink of promotion to the Liga MX. It would be fantastic for not only the fans but for the city as a whole if Juárez gets promoted. Instead of the city being linked with drug-related crime, maybe FC Juárez could for once bring the much needed positive attention to the city.
The number of homicides is increasing again in Ciudad Juárez as the drug war between the Sinaloa Cartél and The Juárez Cartél intensifies. After a good couple of years with fewer homicides and crime, the cartels are starting to take over again. But this time it will be different for the people from Juárez. They have something to look forward to, something that makes them unite. Something that gives the people hope and keeps them going. Something that lets the youth dream of a future.