The draw for most of World Cup qualifiers in football was made
today. The Dominican Republic has to get past the might of
Anguilla ( Wot??? Where???? Who??? ) first. After that they've
got a very tricky draw vs Trinidad & Tobago.
What's the current state of Dominican football? Does it have a
functioning league system? The national team must recruit its
players from somewhere.. The universities?
Does the national team prefer to play zonal defence, or to man-
mark? Has this great nation fostered any players worth
In a way it is strange how football seems so poorly developed
on that island. I'm aware of the American influence with baseball
and to a lesser extent basketball... probably one of the saddest
examples of American imperialism in Latin America, but still. It is
strange for the simple reason that football is the game of the
poor, all it takes to play it is a ball of rolled-up paper. It is also
highly inclusive with any male being welcome to join..
I never saw much football down there, not even in the news,
and those I saw playing were mostly Haitians.. The Dominican
that came closest was the one that sat down on the middle of
the playing field on Boca Chica beach, telling us all how
the beach was free for everyone ( though we were the only
ones there.... ). It never ceases to amaze me how hard I can
actually shoot when focused, and how well I can hit a target.....
Soccer does have some appeal here in the Caribbean...
....as reported around June of this year on the Jim Rome sport show.
"A machete fight took place as scheduled in Jamaica and a soccer game almost broke out.
You have to love a game where people get killed. I know, I know…soccer is so passionate and full of creativity.
One man is dead and two others are badly injured when a crazed fan lost it with a machete.
Fans began to argue about their respective teams in the stands when Carlington Hilton went nuts…with his machete. He took off before fans could grab him, but eventually they caught up to him and started hacking him up with their own machetes.
Nice stadium security. You can’t even bring in a backpack full of food to a stadium in this country, but in Jamaica you can bring your own Machete? The Dodgers won’t let lesbians in, but you can bring a machete to a soccer game in Jamaica.
How about the dead guy getting into an argument with a guy with a machete? If the guy you want to argue with who likes the other team happened to bring his machete and you didn’t…you probably don’t want to argue with him.
Great soccer. A guy brought a machete to a soccer game. Not a pocket knife, not a switchblade, but a freaking machete.
You’re right, I just don’t get it soccer. I don’t get how somebody thinks about and is able to bring a machete to a soccer game.
If you are going to have a no-smoking section in stadiums, you need to have a no-machete section too.
But the thing is, you’re not going on safari, but to a soccer game. Nice. You go to a soccer game and a machete fight broke out. But like they say, never bring a soccer game to a machete fight.
Soccer is not a sport, it’s a reason to riot. You don’t go to see a game played... you go to kill someone or be killed."
lots of soccer played in Jarabacoa and it is a big sport in the catholic schools.
Dominican Football sucks and here is why
Back in the late 60's there was a movement towards fútbol. In 1970 I became directly involved and trained the team at the , then, UCMM. Since there was no university based league and the Dominican Football Federation was so poor, almost any team with 10 or eleven jerseys could play.
I set out to recruit players who knew the game, I had the good fortune to have a couple of cigar smoking Danes and a Dutchman who knew the game as well as a couple of Spaniards and a few Dominicans that had learned the game at the Salesian Fathers schools in Jarabacoa and Moca or the Augustinian Father's school in La Vega.
We trained under the lights at the softball field every Tuesday and Thursday and played every Sunday. There were teams from Moca, San Francisco de Macoris, Haina, San Cristobal, Santo Domingo, the UASD, and San Pedro de Macoris. Eventually, by 1971, We had 12 teams playing a league and Cup schedule.
UCMM, Moca, La Vega, Villa Tapia, Haina, UASD, España, Refor, San Pedro de Macoris, Unphu, La Aurora, and San Francisco de Macoris.
the universities enjoyed a marked advantage: They could offer scholarships to students in order to attract them to the team. There was no such thing as transfer charges, it was all amateur stuff. Intense, but amateur. I even got my university to build a real football field!
By 1972 the UCMM was a powerhouse. I had recruited from the Salesian Philosophy House, the Salesian school in Jarabacoa, Haiti, Spain, and the best Dominican players. Some I got jobs for, some had scholarships, some I paid their high school so they could eventually get to the university. some I even bought tools for so that they could enter our technical school and learn a trade! We rolled over most teams and won the league but finished second in the Cup. In fact i never did win a Cup!
1973 was the same. In 1974 we were undefeated in the league but again lost the cup. I was like 50-4-2 over theyears as a team manager. We went to Haiti and played, winning 1-0 and losing 0-1 against the same team but reinforced by members of the Haitian national team that went to Munich in 1974! And their refs!!!
Because of the pressure from the other non-university teams, the Federation President decreed that from then on no Universities could participate in the league or cup. this was mostly directed at the UCMM team (the NY Yankees of DR football), since he had been fired from his job at UCMM!
Before this thousands of students would attend the games, we filled the Olympic Stadium with kids to see Pelé and the New Yoirk Cosmos, we played in the CONCACAF playoffs, against Surinam. We played in Jamaica, and we played and won in Curacao and Puerto Rico.. We hosted a team from Uruguay-Deportivo Cerro, and filled the Quisqueya ballpark and the Estadio Cibao. I can remember taking 10 school buses, bursting at the seams, to Santo Domingo to play the UASD or UNPHU or España. We had huge headlines in all the press and Monday's papers carried all the scores. That is pretty much gone now.
Since then, and in spite of US$250,000 in FIFA money they have not been able to get a really good team together.
Seldom has anyone been able to point a finger at one event that destroys an entire sports movement. By the way, the guy is still around, he is now an alledgely corrupt judge according to reliable reports, and has been kicked upstairs to avoid having to put him in jail. He is also banned for life from any Olympic activity. What a loser!
As a result of the scholarships, I can proudly point to MDs, BAs in Business, Philosophy, Education, Agronomy, a major league ball player (Damaso García, our captain for a while). Some of the kids, now men, still come by to talk of the old days...We had names like the big teams: Garrincha, La Piedra, Conde, Leduco, Mariano, Damasito, Tavares, Cabrera, Rijo, Sousa, Chila, Belman, La Tabla, Juan Torrens, Bietman, Knut, Poul, El Caballo de Hierro, Manolo, Juan Manuel (He is now a tenured professor at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid!), Hector...
Those were great times...
BAYAGUANA, is a no baseball town all they play is Soccer and Volleyball out of curiosity i ask relatives and told me that they preffer Soccer.
Intec had (has?) a team...
It was been managed by Jorge Rolando Bauger and I used to go see them at the UNPHU field when they were playing. Actually that's how I started sort of liking football, a bunch of my girl friends and I would go to the stadium to watch the guys playing... we never learnt much about the game though.
Jorge Rolando Bauger now has a football school for kids in San Gerónimo. If you drive by on a Saturday morning you'd think the Queen of England is throwing a party, judging by the variety of expensive vehicles parked outside. I commented this to Uncle Rob who came up with a good theory-explanation: rich Dominicans (high middle class and above) look down on baseball (and most things American) while they look up to our European cousins (Spain). They would not consider letting their children play baseball, because hey! who are the Dominican baseball heroes after all? KnowwhatImean?
I tend to agree with Uncle Rob.
Yeah, lots of the upper middle class go to Jorge Rolando Bauger, but he frankly is the only coach for kids wanting to learn futbol in SD who does it right. My son wanted to learn "soccer." We heard about a group that Pascascio teaches on Saturdays at Loyola high school on Av. Bolivar. Pascascio coaches the girl's team at the school & in return can use the field (a pretty good one, or was anyway) for his classes & his summer soccer camp. Pascacio has heart & loves the game & promotes it hard but focuses more on inclusion & fun & less on skill development & knowledge of the rules. In terms of really teaching the skills & rules & discipline, Bauger was much, much better.
So we switched, even though Bauger's schedule was far more cumbersome for us. The difference in my son's enthusiasm was remarkable. "This is soccer, dad!"
BTW, my son has continued with soccer here in Northern Virginia's local leagues, and although he is not able to match the Bolivians, Salvadorians, Peruvians, other Latins & the Aussies (yes, Aussies!) that abound here, he enjoys it alot still, so yours truly is willing to continue knocking myself silly to get him to all those practices & games.
Last edited by Keith R; 12-07-2003 at 04:42 PM.
Thank you Hillbilly for THE history of football/soccer in the DR.
I was briefly on the squad at UCMM in the early 1980's while in medical school there. Nice memories. We were coached by Belman (your Bietman?). We played against teams from other universities. UCE had good African and South Americans. Most of our players @UCMM were indeed still a mix of kids trained by the Spanish clergy in Moca, Jarabacoa and some from La Vega.
Other players were foreign born (Arabs, South Americans, Mexicans) and a couple more were from the ranks of the upple-middle class in Santiago; Hippo's son, Ramón, was one of our teammates. The economist Padre Alemán would attend even some of our practices and the games were usually well attended. My only goal ever in that league made it to the sports page of La Información. My biggest moment of glory. Unfortunately soccer has never had mass appeal in the country and continues to lag well behind other sports. FIFA is still trying to help. My 2 cents.
Belman Mejía--no relation- was the goalkeeper during the glory years. Bietman Díaz graduated as an Economist from UCMM. Belman worked for years in the Phys Ed Department. He left to go to NYC where he umpires sopftball in the Spring and Summer and Winter League Baseball in the DR during the winter months.
Those were the Intercollegiate Years and the teams were supposed to be students..
Garrincha, Manuel Pérez, from Moca, was in the second graduating class from the med School...
Thanks for the clarification re. the 2 men with a name starting with a 'B' and ending in 'man' from Santiago fútbol. I have team photos somwhere in my basement with Belman Mejía as our head coach. A retired goalie by then. We had UCMM printed in our 'camisetas' and we played on the same campus, but my UCMM team only shared the name "UCMM" with those teams that you refer to from the 1970's. Those guys were the stuff of legend for us. I wouldn't dare compare the teams or leagues of the 70's with those of the 80's. By the time I wore the uniform it was indeed an intercollegiate league that was pretty balanced but not of the level of the teams you led.