In 1928, the editor of the Argentine sports journal El Grafico, Borocoto, penned the perfect description of the Argentine footballing spirit. He described the “pibe”, the kid, as one with:
“… a dirty face, a mane of hair rebelling against the comb; with intelligent, roving, trickster and persuasive eyes and a sparkling gaze that seems to hint at a picaresque laugh that does not quite manage to form on his mouth, full of small teeth that might be worn down through eating yesterday’s bread. His trousers are a few roughly sewn patches; his vest with Argentinian stripes, with a very low neck and with many holes eaten out by the invisible mice of use.”
As English author Jonathan Wilson comments, it’s an eerily accurate description of the best Argentine player — and maybe the best player period — Diego Maradona, almost a quarter century before El Diego would make his debut. The term “pibe” has been used by many writers and pundits to describe the Argentine footballing ethos.
As such, it’s a term we rarely hear discussed in the United States. However, by understanding this archetype, which runs throughout Latin America in one name or another, we can better understand the Latin American temperance and what it means for U.S. Soccer. [Read more…]