Mexican soccer has grown in strength over the last few decades. The top club sides of the Mexican Primera División continue to produce some world-class players, while the Mexican national team has managed to qualify for every World Cup since 1994.
The governing body of Mexican soccer is the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación, known as the FMF. According to the Ole Ole website, "The FMF was one of the first federations in North America to professionalize football in 1943." Mexican soccer falls under the jurisdiction of FIFA, soccer's global governing body. Both the national team and club sides are part of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, known as CONCACAF.
There are four professional leagues in Mexico. The highest level is the Primera División. This is followed by the Liga de Ascenso, Segunda División and finally the Tercera División. Mexican clubs also compete in the Super Liga against teams from the United States and Canada. The Inter Liga, meanwhile, is a competition between Mexican clubs to decide which two teams go on to compete in the Copa Libertadores, the biggest club competition in South America. Mexican clubs are allowed to compete in this competition despite being based outside of South America.
The Albion Road soccer website states that the two giants of Mexican club soccer are Chivas and América. The derby match played between them is known as the Superclasico. Toluca and Cruz Azul are two of the other top-flight Mexican club sides.
The Mexican national team is known by two nicknames, the "Equipo Azteca," or Aztec Team, and "El Tri," a reference to Mexico's tri-color flag. The national team has two different soccer shirts, one green and one white. Mexico qualified for 14 World Cup competitions between 1930 and 2010. The team has never won the completion but has reached the quarterfinals twice. As the official FIFA website states, both quarterfinal finishes were achieved when Mexico played host to the tournament, in 1970 and 1986.
Soccer-Fans-Info.com highlights three players as the major stars in Mexican soccer history. Antonio Carbajal was a goalkeeper for the Mexican national team in the mid-1900s. He was the first player in the world to appear in five World Cup tournaments. Luis Hernandez appeared in 87 games for Mexico's national team and was one of the country's most successful goal scorers. As of 2010, Rafa Marquez is the current star of Mexican soccer. The defender captained the national team in the South Africa 2010 World Cup.