Popular Sports in Latin America

Sports Latin America

Soccer, football or fútbol is the most popular of sports Latin America both plays and watches, reflecting the popularity of the sport throughout the world.

In some of the poorer nations, the game is not played on a grass field with a leather ball, but is a group of children kicking an object around in the dirt instead.

In a 1996 survey of Latin American children aged 7 to 11, football was the game that topped the playing list.

Sports Latin America

Some of footballs greatest name players and rags to riches stories come from Latin America, including Pelé, Messi and Maradona who all survived childhood hardships to become world class players.

In sports, Latin America excels. Brazil has won the FIFA world cup 5 times and Argentina and Uruguay have both won twice.

More Than Just Football

Sports Latin America

In the Caribbean, baseball is one of the most popular sports. Latin America has been seeing a growing popularity of the game which came to the Dominican Republic from Cuba in the. Cuban students, studying in the US were the first to bring the game to Cuba between the 1850's and 1860's.

It is estimated that just under a third of current baseball players in the United States come from Latin American or are descendents of Latin Americans.

World's First Ball Games

Sports Latin America

Ball games have been popular in Latin America for many hundreds of years. The Mesoamerican ball game sometimes called Ulama dates back 3500 years and was still a popular game when the European explorers 'discovered' the area 500 years ago.

Played with a rubber ball of no set size and sometimes with a human skull inside to make the ball hollow, the object of the game was to get the ball through a high hoop, without using your hands or letting the ball touch the ground. The captain of the losing team would be a human sacrifice, connecting the game to the religious beliefs of the people at the time.

The game is believed to have evolved and the rules changed slightly in different versions. In later years points were scored for hitting certain walls, or not letting the ball bounce. In other versions, you could only use your hip to project the ball onwards. A descendant of the game, called Batey, was played in the Caribbean.

Nowadays there are a number of sports played in Latin America, both traditional or native games and international games that we all recognize.