Futbol - the soccer game of Loja

Gol!, photo by Nathaly Poma

Interview with Jonathan by an inquiring expat...

Q. I understand you played on a team. What position did you play? For how long? Do you still play?

A. I played only in the University of Loja. I played for my department's team for about two years. My position was center forward right in front of the opposing team's goal so I would be the one to receive passes and kick in the ball. However, I injured my knee and since then I stopped playing. I work out differently now.

Q. Does Loja have one single official team to represent the city?

A. Yes, we have the Liga de Loja Soccer Team.

Q. I've heard that Lojanos are so passionate about futbol that it is best not to bring it up in conversation. Could you say more about that?

A. I think not only Lojanos are passionate but also Latin American people in general. It's OK to talk about soccer as long as you speak respectfully about each other's team. It's believed that there are three big and most popular soccer teams in Ecuador; they are Liga de Quito, Barcelona, and Emelec.

Q. Do teams in Loja have sponsors - like beer or footwear companies - who provide uniforms with their logos?

A. Yes, they do. For instance, Liga de Loja Futbol Team is sponsored by the Banco de Loja and other private institutions.

Q. I've seen very young kids kicking a futbol around in my neighborhood playground. Do the schools have teams and if so, at what age level do they start?

A. People like futbol so much that they start playing it very young. In my case, I started when I was 4 or 5 years old. It's very common to go to the local soccer pitch and play all day or afternoon (depending on the time of the school year). Nowadays, there are futbol schools for little children (5 year olders).

Q. How does one find out when and where a game is being held?

A. You just have to follow the Liga de Loja Facebook page to find out. Usually, professional games are posted in the local newspapers.

Q. Are there "friendly" games where anyone can show up and join in? Could an expat participate in a game?

A. What usually happens here is that you call your friends and agree on meeting at a certain time at a park or a synthetic soccer field, and you start playing with them. It's just a matter of organizing a game and finding the best place to show off your abilities!


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