The Bogotá Blues have become Everton’s first official affiliated Supporters’ Club in Colombia – with two of their youngest members helping mark the occasion by becoming Everton’s first international virtual mascots.
Brothers Simón, 11, and Lucas, 9, will be virtual mascots for the game against Manchester City on Wednesday night – the first time the Club’s virtual mascot experience has been experienced by fans from outside the UK.
An Everton First-Team player will carry the virtual mascot iPad ahead of kick-off, giving Simón and Lucas the unique experience of being in the tunnel alongside the team and walking out with them onto the pitch – despite being on another continent.
The pair have been passionate Evertonians since the Club signed Yerry Mina in 2018, and they also count James Rodriguez, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison among their favourite players.
The Bogotá Blues were founded by Alex Swift, who has lived in the Colombian capital for the last five years. The Supporters’ Club has seen a surge in membership as Everton’s profile has grown across South America, boosted by high-profile signings such as James Rodriguez and the Club’s international growth strategy.
Alex said: “As the founding member of the Bogotá Blues, it feels fantastic to see local Colombian lads given the chance to be mascots for the Club. They are so excited, and I am sure this is just the start of a really special link between two of the things I love most – Everton Football Club and Colombia.”
The Bogotá Blues’ membership includes UK ex-pats in Colombia, Evertonians from around the world but based in South America, and many of Alex’s Colombian colleagues, friends and family. Before the pandemic, they gathered regularly at El Inglés Gastro Pub to watch the match together. For now, they have to stay connected online.
Bogotá Blues member Alejandro Bedoya - who chose Liverpool for his student exchange year just to see his beloved Everton play – will represent the Supporters’ Club on Saturday 20 February as part of Everton’s first social media watch-along for a Merseyside derby. The Spanish-language watch-along is primarily aimed at a South American audience and will be hosted from Bogotá.
Teaming up with one of South America’s biggest football social media influencers Cracks Colombia, the Everton watch-along will feature guests, exclusive video content and opinion in the build-up, during and after the much-anticipated Merseyside derby at Anfield.
The social media watch-along will be available to view exclusively LIVE on Everton’s official YouTube channel, Facebook page, the Club’s Spanish language Twitter account @EvertonESP and official TikTok account.
Alex added: “We’re really excited to have Alejandro representing the Bogotá Blues at the first ever Colombian watch-along event.
“Becoming an official affiliated Supporters’ Club couldn’t have come at a better time for us. Football is important at every level of society here in Colombia - and all everyone wants to talk about is Everton.
“When James Rodriguez scored his first goal for Everton, you could hear cheers coming from houses in my neighbourhood. It was amazing. I was actually at a meeting in the Torre Colpatria [Bogotá tower] on the day it was lit up blue and with the number 19 to mark Rodriguez’s signing, and it was such a big talking point.
“There is a real buzz on game day over here. I can be going for a run wearing my Everton training top and people will stop me to talk, or point to the badge and shout ‘Vamos Everton!’ Everton’s emphasis on treating its fans as a family, no matter where you are in the world, also strikes a chord with a lot of people in Colombia.”
Becoming affiliated means that the Bogotá Blues receive a number of benefits, including a commemorative welcome pack comprising a personalised flag and certificate of affiliation, recognition as an official Supporters’ Club on evertonfc.com, direct access to Club liaison support, signed merchandise for fundraising purposes and a chance to take part in exclusive Supporters’ Club events and competitions. When restrictions allow, Supporters’ Clubs can also enjoy matchday experiences and complimentary tours of Goodison Park.