Jesus A. Peralta
Marcela Gonzalez, Julissa Velastegui
In the summer of 2011 the city of Los Angeles received another visit from Real Madrid in their pre-season. Hundreds of Real Madrid fans got together in search of meeting point from where to cheer on the club for the event. From there came the idea of creating a supporters club where people who share a passion for the merengues could meet up each week to watch and enjoy the Madrid team.
Thanks to social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, during a Real Madrid training session, the founding members got together and began to formulate their plans for the creation of the first official Madrid supporters club in California, ‘Real Madrid Los Angeles Supporters’.
A strong and dedicated board was created, with Stewart Wolfenson at the helm as president, Jorge Alted as vice president, Elisa Uranga as secretary and treasurer, Peggy Van Huizen as director of communication and Marcela González as the membership chairperson.
It began with a Facebook page, and one month later, an agreement was reached in the well-known Tinhorn Flats pub, on the famous corner of Hollywood and Highland. It is a place that is now lovingly known as their own ‘West Coast Bernabéu’ and that, for some members of the supporters club, becomes a second home at weekends.
The Supporters Club is the first, and the largest, on the West Coast of the USA to be recognised by Real Madrid.
It has more than 500 members who follow the Facebook page, ‘La Peña Madridista de Los Ángeles’, and the Twitter account, @Real_MadridLA and boasts followers from all over the world, including some high-profile ones such as sports journalists and local football commentators, who follow the movements of the Whites and attend the matches every weekend.
In the summer of 2012, during the club's visit to Los Angeles, the Supporters Club's board of directors and some of the members visited the team at Beverly Hills hotel. They were welcomed by the president of the club, Florentino Pérez, board member Enrique Pérez, director of Institutional Relations, Emilio Butragueño, and director of football, Miguel Pardeza.
During the visit, Florentino Pérez presented them with a plaque in thanks for the support they have shown the team, and the members of the supporters club also had the chance to meet and talk with several of the players. Stewart Wolfenson, the club's president summed the experience up perfectly:
“There are many things in life that have a profound impact on you: the birth of your daughter... seeing your team. Meeting those people that bring you so much enjoyment is an unforgettable experience for all of us. We want Real Madrid to feel at home and the stadium is going to be full. The tour is tremendous because of the passion here in California for this team. It's a dream come true”.
Nowadays, each weekend at its Hollywood headquarters, ‘La Peña Madridista de Los Ángeles’ brings together a large number of Real Madrid fans to watch their team at the ‘West Coast Bernabéu’, the Tinhorn Flats Saloon. Once there, they became part of the merengue family, cheering their team on with the incomparable passion they share for Real Madrid.