A North Central Texas Fusion Center which provides homeland security intelligence is warning local officials about the dangers associated with the presence of foreign soccer teams at a local stadium. The threat assessment warns, “foreign soccer teams from all over the world play at Pizza Hut Park. They can bring their local gang and political issues with them. Hooliganism associated with sporting events has occurred in Brazil and Italy.”
The assessment is written by Bob Johnson, a former chief scientist for defense contractor Raytheon Co. and the chief architect and operator of the fusion system. Johnson believes that since there is “great enthusiasm” for soccer in Central and South American countries, then there’s a good chance cartel members will attend local soccer games. Johnson also tried to strengthen his case by erroneously claiming that one of Mexico’s soccer teams is owned by a drug cartel. The only evidence of cartel-owned soccer teams that Melissa del Bosque of the Texas Observer could confirm is a minor league soccer team potentially owned by Wenceslao Álvarez, a reputed leader of the “La Familia” drug gang. However, Álvarez probably hasn’t been attending any soccer games since he was sent to prison in 2008.
Soccer hooliganism, or unruly and destructive behavior, is usually sparked by fanatical supporters of rival teams and is often associated with the “reclaiming” of the game by the working classes. Ultimately, even if some drug cartel members are really big soccer fans, chances are they’re not going to risk blowing their cover over their favorite team, let alone in support of the proletariat.
A recent piece by Robert Valencia of the Center for American Progress has identified the growing popularity of soccer in the U.S. not as a security threat, but rather as “clear evidence that immigrants are acculturating to our society.” Valencia writes, “Soccer is a clear example of Hispanics’ many contributions to fostering unity…The ball of multicultural awareness and respect is in everybody’s court, and mutual prosperity should be our common goal.”
Del Bosque points out that Johnson and his wife have received $1.1 million in no-bid government contracts.