Historians have found evidence of soccer games in Pachuca as early as 1889. The players weren’t native Mexicans but immigrant Cornish miners, who had come to work for the Real del Monte silver mining company at the turn of the century, following Mexico’s independence. Along with the English architecture, and an unusual taste for pasties, Pachuca’s foreign miners left an indelible mark on Mexico’s national imagination; they gave the country its national sport.
The son of a tin miner, it is believed that Alfred C. Crowle brought the first footballs and football association rules to the miners, who played pick-up games on the outdoor patio of one of the Real del Monte mines in their free hours (which were sure to be scarce in such a business). As the game’s popularity grew among the townsfolk, it was decided that Pachuca needed a club, and so, in 1901, the Club de Fútbol Pachuca was formed.
In the following few years, several other clubs started up throughout the country – Albinegros de Orizaba, Reforma AC, British Club, Puebla AC, and Mexico Cricket Club. In 1907, the Mexican Primera División (now the Liga MX) was formed, with the Pachuca Club as one of the founding members.
The Pachuca team has had its highs and lows throughout the development of football in Mexico, but it is now one of the country’s best teams. Pachuca city was officially named the birthplace of Mexican football in 2014. It is also home to the FIFA-recognised World Football Hall of Fame, which not only provides visitors with a wealth of knowledge about the sport’s history, but also gives them a chance to test their agility, play a life-sized game of foosball, and try out as a radio commentator for a game.
Most football fans agree that without the Pachuca club, Mexico might have never formalised its love for kicking a ball around into the intense, competitive and adored sport it is today. Even the world’s richest man, Mexico’s Carlos Slim, knows a good thing when he sees it – he owns 30% of Grupo Pachuca, the team’s ownership group.