FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida. Friday is an important day for South Florida. Lionel Messi is expected to play his first game day for Inter Miami on Friday night.
A few hours before matchday, fans began showing up, such as the Silva family from Mexico.
They tried to grab some game equipment before watching Messi at the DRV PNK stadium. In Spanish, the eldest son said: “Messi will win! Inter Miami will win and they will win by a wide margin!”
Johnny Erarte of Myrtle Beach said his nephew calls Messi “The Goat” or “The Greatest of All Time”.
“He hopes to play like Messi one day,” Johnny shared. “And I said that if I had the opportunity to meet him and take a photo with him, I would send him a photo.”
Justin Badilla from Costa Rica has played football all his life. Now he is excited to watch the number 10 play: “How is he going to score goals? It’s always a surprise. Messi is the best!”
And the same excitement is experienced by those who have been rooting for Inter Miami for the past two years. Jermaine Scott is the co-founder of Black Herons United, an independent team cheerleading group that also shares the Caribbean culture’s pride in the game.
They are trying to make the league one of the most inclusive and believe that Messi can help to be a part of it: “It will be big, it will be huge. Everyone in the group chat is like this, are we ready for this, are we ready for this? And to be honest, I don’t think anyone is ready for that.”
Scott continued, “So I think we are preparing for the consequences that are going to happen because they are coming and coming fast. But I think we are also ready for the members to come, more information to get our message across.”
This message reached Miguel Angel Ardon from Honduras. In Spanish, he said: “Here we will be victorious!”
His family members can’t wait to get in the stadium and see one of them start the legacy. Silvia, one of Miguel’s relatives, shared in Spanish: “We’re here in the United States and we can say, ‘Come on Messi! Come on, Messi,” and that makes us very happy! It elevates us and makes us truly happy.”
For longtime fans of the game, the player and the league, Friday is a day that many, including Andrea Ordonez, will never forget: “I think this is the start of something good, something big.”