We talk to Los Latinos, a Grenoble-based amateur football team featuring players of 10 different nationalities.
Grenoble Life: Tell us about the team.
Los Latinos: Our team is called “Los Latinos,” honoring the Latin origins of many of our players and making reference to our favorite teams (Colombia, Brazil, Italy, France, Spain …)
The team consists of 17 players of various nationalities; we have only three players of French origin in our team.
Our coach has several years of experience in the FSGT first division and some of our players have played already in very important leagues abroad. For example, Oscar Lares, who has played in the second division of a Mexican League, or Robert Saint-Fort, Haitian, who played for the national youth team in Haiti (U17).
GL: Why did you decide to create a team?
Los Latinos: At the beginning, we started playing among friends, and friends of friends who had just arrived to Grenoble to study or work. We bought our first ball (a very cheap one, by the way!) in the summer of 2010 and for more than three years we have organized friendly matches; during the summer we play twice a week on a pitch available at Saint Martin-le-Vinoux, and in winter in Meylan at Soccer 5.
The idea of creating a team came naturally: we created an association “loi 1901”, called “Football Matches Grenoble” to increase our chances of getting the right to play on a football pitch in the Grenoble area. Despite our efforts and repeated contacts with the city authorities, we still have not received any positive answer. This is very disappointing since we pay our local taxes but we cannot enjoy the sports facilities. We are currently looking for a pitch available during the week after work with lights and locker rooms if possible.
GL: What nationalities are involved and what language do you speak on the pitch?
Los Latinos: Our team’s main goal is to promote intercultural exchange, brotherhood and fair play.
The current official team for the FSGT30 tournament, “Los Latinos”, has 17 players with 10 nationalities from Italy (Francesco, Giacomo, Matteo, Antonello, Pietro), Spain (Emilio, Jesus), Poland (Marcin), Chile (Mauricio), Portugal (Cristiano), Haiti (Robert), Mexico (Oscar), France (Denis, Bertrand, Mohamed), Brazil (Ricardo) and Colombia (Jaime). In previous years, we have also had people from Ukraine, Netherlands, England, Romania, Germany, and Austria, among others (in total we have had about 70 players of ages ranging from 18 to 50 years old).
On the field, the main language is French, each player is at least bilingual, but in reality we speak “Fran-Span-Glish’.
GL: What is the FSGT38 and how good do you have to be to play in it?
Los Latinos: The FSGT is a national sports federation that mobilizes 270,000 practitioners, unites 4,700 sporting associations and local companies, which organizes hundreds of different sports activities, which is present in 70 French departments, and which cooperates with 35 other federations in the world.
The idea behind creating a team of seven players (auto-arbitré) came simply from our passion for football and our wish for challenge and competition. We have great ambitions but the season is long and it is too early to predict how good we will perform.
Our first friendly match against an established team from the FSGT38 League (Échirolles DRC) resulted in a defeat (4/6) but we finished with honor! Still, there is lot of work to improve, especially at group level.
GL: Where do you practice? What facilities are there in Grenoble for enthusiasts who want to play football?
Los Latinos: This is our main problem. Unfortunately, the city of Grenoble has not considered our request to provide us with a pitch and a changing room to organize at least one training session a week. We hope that this situation will change, but the city authorities remain indifferent to our requests.
Are there too many football teams or not enough sport facilities? The answer seems to be obvious – promoting sports is a good thing, but allowing official teams to be able to practice it seems more complicated in our city.
At the moment, we try to find an available open pitch every week, as long as there is enough light we play, including amateurs that normally are in the same field that we find available … it doesn’t get any easier, especially as autumn arrives and the days get shorter.
GL: How can other people get involved?
Los Latinos: Currently, we are focusing on the FSGT38 league and registration for new members is now closed. However, our training sessions are still open to the public (whenever we find a place to play of course!). Anyone interested can contact us via our Facebook group, “Football Matches Grenoble”.
We are also looking for partners, and the goodwill of people who would be able to help us find a pitch to play on regularly. This is the situation that stops us training regularly and improving.
Financially, we are a self-funding administration, but we welcome partners or sponsors that could help us to develop our club. Our values: fraternity, openness to the world, fair play and playing for fun!
1) At the beginning
2) Los Latinos, official team:
Front Line (from Left to right): Jaime, Oscar, Denis, Jesus, Pietro, Marcin, Ricardo
Second Line (from left to right): Antonello, Emilio, Robert, Francesco, Mauricio, Cristiano, Bertrand
Missing from the picture: Mohamed, Giacomo, Matteo, and coach and photographer: Djamousse