There is a clear home team at Mile High Thursday night; it's not the Broncos - and it's a different kind of football.
The Mexican national soccer team is playing in Denver for the first time in four years in the Gold Cup tournament. For Denver's Mexican-American population, it's a proud moment to celebrate sports, heritage and family.
You couldn't silence the fans leading up to the Gold Cup even if you wanted to. People came out with flags, hats, and even masks to show their excitement. Even with so much fanfare, you could not miss Edger Diaz.
“Any game that's out here and its soccer I'm coming,” he said.
But this game was special.
“I feel like I'm close to my culture and I like being here with my people celebrating enjoying it,” Diaz said.
Enjoyment came to locals and those who came a bit farther. Wendy Molina's came all the way from Wyoming. This is her first Gold Cup and it's sentimental.
“It makes me feel close to my country again because I left so long ago,” she said.
She drove five hours with family to be at the game but it's a short trip.
“We're not going to stay after the game we're going back because I have to work tomorrow,” Molina said.
She said regardless of the fast turnaround it was something she just couldn't pass up.
Like Leslie Perez, who brought her family from Albuquerque.
“I didn't think there would be that many people so it's pretty exciting and nice to know that we are part of the country so it's nice to be supported,” she said.
That support also extended from one football team to another. The Broncos met with members of the Mexican team several weeks ago. And as for Thursday’s game? Diaz calls it a family reunion.
“We wait so long for this day and that what we save all of our energy to celebrate,” he said.
Mexico last played in Denver at Mile High back in 2013, and they played Jamaica for their seventh title in 2015.
A total of 16 teams are playing in the Gold Cup this week.
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