RailHawks set attendance record but most root for the other team

There was good news and bad news for the Carolina RailHawks Wednesday night. The good news is they broke an attendance record with more than 8,000 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. The bad news is that most of those in the stands were rooting for the visiting team. Why? Because that team – Pumas – is from Mexico. To add insult to injury, the RailHawks lost 2-1 with the difference being an accidental goal they they scored on themselves.

On the one hand, evidently the swelling illegal immigrant Hispanic population has added to gate receipts for the RailHawks. On the other hand, some American citizens have been dissuaded from attending RailHawks games because of the makeup of the crowd.

Some have told me that they feel like they are in a different country when at some of the games. Others have said that they feel uncomfortable being somewhere that so many speak a foreign language. A friend of mine with young children says there is a lot of drinking going on.

One man I know said that he doesn’t feel it’s safe for his family being around so many that he believes are here illegally. In addition to concerns about drunk driving, he pointed to a 2009 report titled “Illegal Immigration and Public Health” which states that, “Because illegal immigrants, unlike those who are legally admitted for permanent residence, undergo no medical screening to assure that they are not bearing contagious diseases, the rapidly swelling population of illegal aliens in our country has also set off a resurgence of contagious diseases that had been totally or nearly eradicated by our public health system.”

That all being said, WakeMed Soccer Park is an excellent facility, quite possibly one of the best of its type in the country. In addition, the level of soccer the RailHawks play is good. One day when either illegal immigration is curbed or when recent immigrants – legal and illegal – become more assimilated into our American culture, perhaps some that have trepidation about going to games will start coming out in bigger numbers – and rooting for the home team.

The RailHawks open North American Soccer League play at Tampa Bay April 6 and return to WakeMed Soccer Park to take on FC Edmonton April 13.