It's a slow Villarreal news day, with the international break in full--yawn--swing....so let's turn our attention to something else. (And no, I promise, no attempted jokes about internal Spanish politics).
Earlier this week it was announced that Oklahoma City is getting a new franchise in the North American Soccer League--this is the league the NY Cosmos are in. The strange part is that somehow (I have not seen details as to exactly how), the investor group behind this includes Rayo Vallecano.
Of all the La Liga clubs to invest in a team in Oklahoma, Rayo would surely be one of the last you'd think of. Why? Well, for a start, they are very closely associated with their Madrid neighborhood (barrio) of Vallecas; in fact, the Guardian (UK) described them as 'the last of the barrio teams'.
The club has always been associated with leftist politics (even when it was owned by the Ruiz-Mateos family, who hardly shared those beliefs while creating a corrupt business empire) and their fans are known for all sorts of innovative demonstrations against such things as Javier Tebas's dictatorial running of La Liga, early kickoff times, racism and homophobia....you get the idea.
Hard to imagine any of that taking root in Oklahoma, a state where one of its senators considers climate change an elaborate hoax (and has said we don't need to worry about the climate because God promised us we would always have four seasons), two-thirds of the electorate votes Republican, all of its congressmen are Republican, and Republicans control the state legislature with a supermajority. And the state Republican Party is adamantly opposed to the "way US history is being taught" and CommonCore standards for educating young Oklahomans.
But hey, if Rayo's ultra group the Bukaneros can establish an Oklahoma City chapter and introduce the "if you stop jumping up and down you're a racist" thing to the crowds attending Rayo OKC matches.... (well, we hope they'll have crowds--they plan to play their matches at a 6,000 seat high school stadium, and there is already another professional soccer team in town) .... then, more power to them.
Meanwhile, I am certain the three, four or five people in Oklahoma who actually know who Rayo Vallecano is are probably scratching their heads and wondering, as am I, how a team that survives year after year by picking up players on free transfers and short-term loans has any money to throw away--er, invest--on a soccer franchise in Oklahoma City. But apparently, unlike "Getafe Team Dubai" and other bizarre international deals, this is real.
So, this is for you, Rayo OKC fans! Enjoy!!