When 30 miners from Cornwall, England, arrived to work in the silver mines of the Mexican town of Mineral del Monte in 1826, little did they know that they would leave such a strong cultural imprint there, and in the nearby state capital city, Pachuca. This legacy starts with a picturesque cemetery, follows with a delicacy based on the Cornish pasty (which with additions like chilis is now known locally as “paste”), and now ends with a 120-foot-tall building shaped like a soccer ball.
While it’s probable that the actual first soccer match in Mexico was played by these miners somewhere closer to the port in the state of Veracruz, where they first disembarked after their transatlantic boat ride, it does seem certain that Pachuca’s football club is Mexico’s first. Affectionately known today as “Los Tuzos”—“the Gophers”—the Pachuca Football Club was founded in 1901 by local pachuqueños, many of whom were directly related to the original and further Cornish miners.
Having been the first city in the country with an established club, Liga MX (the top tier of professional soccer in Mexico) officially considers Pachuca to be “the birthplace of Mexican soccer.” Honoring this title, the local children’s museum along with several partners in creating an interactive museum and hall of fame for this popular sport.
Opened in July 2011, this center consists of two buildings. The soccer ball houses a FIFA-sanctioned International Hall of Fame, where the all-time greats like Pelé and Maradona are paid homage alongside Mexico’s most-beloved players like Hugo Sánchez and Chicharito. Connected with the Hall of Fame via tunnel, the Mundo Fútbol Interactive Center is a collection of digital activities that allow children and adults to test their soccer knowledge and skills. From displays that measure your kicking speed to reproductions of television stages and other media related to the business of soccer, Mundo Fútbol shows a surprisingly comprehensive view of the showbusiness of major sport.