Saturday, October 24, 2015

A look behind the lens: photographing the Cal women's golf team

I'm one of the photographers for UC Berkeley sports department. I take head shots and group photos of different teams throughout the academic year. On photo day for the Cal Women's Golf program, the school took video of the event.  You can watch me in action, behind the lens, above!

Above: one of the fun group photographs I took of the team.  Here are the rest of the group photos.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

USA and Mexico fans at the CONCACAF Cup

The USA national team didn't get the result it wanted in the CONCACAF Cup, but for the USA fans, it was good night.  
For the first time in many years the US Men's soccer team had played an important match in Los Angeles, there were thousands and thousands of American fans in the stands supporting them.  The atmosphere was completely different than the 2011 Gold Cup final at the Rose Bowl.
In this 2011 photograph from the Gold Cup Final the US Soccer supporters section was this small area consisting of probably no more than 1000 fans.
During the CONCACAF Cup the USA fans and American Outlaws covered a whole end of the stadium.
The other amazing part was although there were some moments of heckling and arguing between the USA and Mexico fans, it was mostly good natured.

 Even though with the improved numbers of USA fans at the stadium, the overwhelming was pro-Mexico.
I'd estimate that the numbers were about 65 percent pro-Mexico...

 ... and about 35 percent pro-USMNT.
 When the teams walked on the pitch for the start of the match...
 ...the Mexico fans were definitely louder singing the national anthem.
 But the USA team sure didn't look intimidated.
 After all, in recent years the USMNT has had the uncanny ability to beat Mexico 2-0 in important games.

Unfortunately the American Outlaws fans barely starting beating their drums before Mexico scored.

 But urged on, the USA fans continued to cheer...
...and were rewarded with a quick goal to tie the match back up.
 After the first 15 minutes the match turned into a tactical game with the USA defending...
...and the Mexicans attacking.
 At the half fans caught their breath...

...and shared a drink or two.
 In the second half the USA and American Outlaws urged on the USMNT.

 As USA fans chanted "USA!" the Mexico fans right next to them would chant "Me-xi-co!"
 Mexico had the run of the game in the second half and its fans were left ruing several missed goal scoring opportunities.  
The game than went to extra time and Mexico scored a goal. And it looked like the USA were done.
 But a beautiful combination play by the USA breathed life back into the American fans' hopes.
 They cheered on their team to finish off extra time and take the game to penalty kicks.
 But with only a few minutes left on the clock the USA fans were looked on in disbelief as Mexico scored a clincher.  
 With so few minutes left on the clock there was no way for the USA to respond and the American fans trudged out of the bowl dejected... the Mexico fans celebrated.

But in the end the real remarkable story really wasn't the result, but the fans.  The USA fans came out in numbers, the Mexico fans in even greater numbers. And in large part the fans were passionate and good natured. They gave their all for their respective sides and could hold their heads up high after the game.  

Now I doubt that the next World Cup Qualifier between Mexico and the USA in Azteca will be a love fest, but it really felt, at least for one night, in this game, that the fans of both nation treated each other with respect.  I liked that. And hope it for more as the greatest soccer rivalry in CONCACAF continues.