My Everton #14: The City I Love... And A Trip To Paris

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I'd been officially hooked on Everton for one full season when my wife (then girlfriend) and I planned an amazing trip to Paris and Amsterdam in October 2015. 

While in Paris - the city of love - I decided to fulfil a dream with another of my true loves and bought a plane ticket to Liverpool to watch an Everton match at Goodison Park. 

I told my wife, who reminded me that we had tickets to see a big DJ with some friends the night before our match.

But I couldn't miss this.

So, after a late night, we caught a 4am flight to Liverpool. 

We arrived at our hotel, took a quick nap but then woke up to some terrible news. Howard Kendall, an Everton legend, had passed away. 

I had no idea just how big that was at the time. 

Naturally, we were excited to experience our first-ever live match at Goodison and we decided to take part in the pre-game festivities - but there was a very different feel in the crowd. 

I had never experienced anything like it. The intensity of a matchday was still there, but the energy was different. It was sombre. 

It felt that everyone was there to pay respects to a lost loved one, like a family. 

That was the day I truly fell in love with Everton. 

Everton touched me deep inside that day, and like Alan Ball said: “Once Everton has touched you, nothing will be the same."

Rewind 12 months and this is where the story began.

I knew I had to start following soccer (or fùtbol as we say in Miami) after the 2014 World Cup. 

During that summer a love for soccer was sparked in a lot of us as Tim Howard broke the World Cup saves record. 

Lots of my friends suggested clubs to follow, especially those with American ties, including Everton (with Tim Howard), Fulham (with Clint Dempsey), and Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham (because of American ownership). 

Clubs from other leagues such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan were already huge in Miami - but I narrowed my search to Premier League clubs, as I knew I could catch most games.

I’ve always liked clubs with history. 

I kept a close eye on the 2014/15 Premier League season and, I'll whisper this, I actually began searching Liverpool... I watched YouTube videos to learn their history and noticed they had quite the rivalry with another club in the same city. They wore Blue instead of Red. 

I learned all about the Merseyside derby and how it is the most famous rivalry in the entire sport. 

I learned all about the big moments, the big names, and I just couldn't wait to watch one for myself.

What a derby it was! 

In the 91st-minute, Everton captain Phil Jagielka rockets in the equaliser at Anfield - and I have never seen a group of away fans go so insane. 

Immediately afterwards, I started digging for Everton videos on YouTube and I was hooked.

The trip truly sealed my feelings for this special institution - and I have since created a Supporters' Club in Miami, where I live, called Vice City Evertonians.

We are based in the city of Miami, but we have members from Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County. 

Because we officially started at the end of 2019, we didn’t really find a set home before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, when we could meet up, it would tend to be at The Lost Boy bar. We’ve hosted many scousers who have passed through Miami. It is always good to have some direct insight from the heart of the Club. 

Our members are from all different backgrounds. We have members who have moved to south Florida from states like New York and Ohio, and we have members who were born in Spain, Argentina, and Colombia. 

Miami is a very multicultural city, so we often link up with fans who are from Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico. 

As for me, I am of Cuban descent. My wife, who is also an Evertonian because of me, is from Central America. I have also converted my closest cousin to become an Evertonian. 

I guess I was born an Evertonian, I just did not realise it until 17 October 2015.

By Jordan Sanchez, Founder of Vice City Evertonians in Miami

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