LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The 2018 World Cup in Russia is in full swing and Mexico's national team is about to embark on its quest for soccer dominance. The team dubbed "El Tri," for Mexico's red, white and green flag, plays its first match against Germany on Sunday morning, 8am PST.
This year, Mexico is the only team from North America to have qualified for the time-honored global tournament. In the spirit of sportsmanship, as well as regional unity, representatives from the United States, Mexico and Canada came together to sign a symbolic treaty in support of the Mexican National Team.
Estrella Jalisco, the official sponsor of El Tri, brought together three soccer legends, Alexi Lalas (USA), Dwayne de Rosario (Canada) and Luis Hernandez (Mexico) to sign the North American Adoptive Futbol Team Agreement (NAAFTA)-which calls all fans from the United States and Canada to rally behind Team Mexico as they head to Russia to compete in the World Cup.
"This team, and this country, and the fans, and the individual players, over the years, they've earned my respect. And they've earned my support. And so, I'm throwing my support to Mexico this World Cup," said Alexi Lalas.
"This connection that I have and that so many other people have with the country of Mexico, I think it manifests in having a realization and an understanding and a respect for what they are doing-for what they are about to embark on this Summer-and recognizing that I can be supportive of that, despite my history of playing against this team and despite the fact that they are our biggest rival."
Mexico's alumnus Luis Hernandez, known as "El Matador," said, "I played in two World Cups and I know what it represents and what it means to the fans and the people." He added, "I think soccer is wonderful. It unites all languages, and all cultures. It gives you the opportunity to tear down borders, tear down prejudices, to tear down that racism that sometimes exists."
"We're coming together as a united front to show our support for Mexico," said Canada's Dwayne de Rosario. "On the field, when we play Mexico or we play the USA, we're fierce rivals. But off the field, I think as the fans, we embrace each other, especially North America. Mexico is still our neighbors, they're still our brothers and we support them, and we want the fans to rally around and show their support too."
This regional allegiance between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada takes on a greater significance with the recent announcement that the three countries will jointly host the World Cup in North America in 2026.
North American soccer legends unite to support Mexico in World Cup