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In the world of Mexican football, it is common to talk about teams more by their nicknames than by their official name. Sometimes, the origin of a nickname goes back so far that is unknown to most Mexicans who follow the Liga MX betting for their favorite teams.
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Keep on reading to discover the origin of every club´s nickname that plays in the first division of the Liga MX.
America received its name because it was founded on 12 October 1916, the day and month of the discovery of the American continent. They took the nickname Azulcremas because of the colour of their uniform. In 1980, the club decided to refresh the team’s image by changing the mascot and nickname to “Las Águilas” (the eagles).
Atlas was founded in 1915, and its name is in honor of the Greek titan Atlas. Its red-black uniform is in honor of the martyr of St. Lawrence. That is why one of the nicknames is ‘Rojinegros’ (red-blacks). ‘El Zorro Banderas’, a great supporter of the team, invented the nickname of ‘Zorros’ (foxes).
The Cruz Azul (blue cross) team, established in 1927 has a name that refers to the color of the uniform they played in. The nickname is due to a sportswriter who used to call the team ‘la máquina cementera’ (the cement machine). Machine refers to the good step shown by the club in the ‘70s. Cementera alludes to the cement cooperative that owned the team.
Chivas of Guadalajara have their nickname because of a mockery made by their fierce rivals Atlas. After a game they lost vs Tampico in 1948, the fans of the ‘Zorros’ said that the red-and-white had run like chivas (goats) all over the field. The club and the fans accepted very well the nickname. Up to this date, ‘El Chiverío’ (goat herd) or ‘El rebaño sagrado’ (sacred herd) are other nicknames the team has.
The young team was founded in 2015 adopting the nickname of ‘Los Bravos’ (the braves). From their first tournament, they proved the nickname was perfect for them playing in the first division of the Liga MX 4 years later, In 2019.
Club León owes its name to the city they represent, León. The club was founded in 1942, and has its nickname due to the tanners of the state of Guanajuato, which is the most popular trade in the region. The leather workers stained in green their clothes due to the chemicals they used. Hence the nickname ‘Los Panzas Verdes’ (the green bellies). The nickname ‘Fiera’ (beast) designates the animal name of the city León (lion).
The team Mazatlán FC was recently established in June 2020. That was after the Monarcas Morelia franchise announced that it would be moving to the city of Mazatlán, rebranding its official name. The nickname Los cañoneros (Gunboats) refers to the cannons on its coat of arms, a symbol of the national defense.
The most common nickname for the Norteños is ‘Rayados’ (striped). The reason is their blue uniform with white stripes. However, they are also known as ‘La Pandilla’ (the gang). This was after a journalist called them that way in the 1960s because of the unity and camaraderie the team demonstrated on the field during that time.
Necaxa owns one of the great stories of Mexican soccer. Born in 1923 in Mexico City, they were known as ‘Los Electricistas’ (the electricians). The reason was that most of the players were workers for the Mexican Light and Power Company Ltd. It was in the ‘90s when the management decided to renew the team by changing the nickname to Los Rayos (the lightnings). They were also called ‘Los Once Hermanos’ (the eleven brothers) due to the squads´ ability to work as a team.
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Pachuca, the oldest club in the league was founded in 1901 by miners, hence the name ‘Tuzos’ (gopher), which is an animal that lives underground and in darkness. The similarity between the rodent and the work of the team’s founders was what led to the decision of the mascot and the team’s nickname.
The team is known as ‘Los camoteros’ since the plant “camote” (sweet potatoes) is very famous and commercialized in the state. They also call them ‘La Franja’ (the strip) because the uniform they have has a diagonal line on the shirt.
The UNAM ‘Pumas’ (cougars), owe their nickname to the university mascot they represent. This nickname dates back to 1942 when the team’s coach mentioned that his team had all the qualities of a cougar. They are also Los Universitarios or Los Felinos (felines).
The team wears the name of the city where is based, Querétaro. It comes from the original Purepecha word “crettaro”, which means ball game. It is not the soccer we know today, but the pre-Hispanic one. The nickname ‘Los Gallos Blancos’ (white roosters) started with a mockery in 1954. That time the technical director of the team got 11 white roosters for the players to take their picture before a match.
The original nickname of the team was Los Gladiadores (gladiators) or Los Tuneros. That was before the Spanish club Atlético de Madrid turned it into its Mexican affiliate in 2017. Now they wear part of the name and colors of the Spanish team: Rojiblancos (red and whites) or Los Colchoneros (mattress makers).
Founded in 1983, the team is known as ‘Laguneros’ because of the region where it is based. But the nickname ‘Los Guerreros’ (warriors) identifies them as a club. In 1992 the team’s technical director, in an interview, said: “These are my eleven warriors”. Hence the nickname and the team’s mascot.
Another team that owes its name to a school is the ‘Tigres’ (tigers) team from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (Tigres UANL). The football team was born in 1960 adopting the mascot and nickname. They also call them Los Auriazules (golden-blue ones).
Los Xolos’ of Tijuana were born in 2006. They have this nickname because their founder and current owner Jorge Hank Rhon is a lover of this pre-Hispanic race of dogs, Xolo, being also the mascot of this proud club of Liga MX.
Toluca has two nicknames among the fans. The first one is ‘Los choriceros’, because the region is known for the production of this sausage (chorizo). But the other one of ‘Los Diablos Rojos’ (red devils) is more popular. This was born after the Governor of the Entity, in 1921, held a party where players from the club arrived; among them were Juan Albarrán known as ‘El diablo’, from where they were later inspired to nickname the team as the ‘Diablos Rojos’.
No matter the origin of the nickname, it will undoubtedly be remembered forever by the fans.