Juego De Chicos by Facundo R. Soto
Reminiscences of youth. Painful memories. The warmth of a crowded car. The dregs of a potent hangover. Dual identities. The smell of a freshly mowed pitch. The dynamism of team sports. Promiscuity. The unyielding intolerance of previous generations. A late night tango. The absolute beauty of football (soccer).
All this and more drives the first-person narrative of Facundo R. Soto’s Juego de Chicos, a crisp bildungsroman that dips in and out of the surrealism of a gay football squad etched into the reality of Argentina’s national religion. In this most macho of macho scenarios, Soto becomes a participant in the struggles and triumphs of a team created out of necessity. The cast of characters, anonymous in a way, but easily identified by their positions, is pulled from every echelon of society—proving hooliganism only knows team allegiance. These stories build upon Soto’s deep knowledge of the sport and the Argentinian squad numeration system and into a novella that reads like full a psychological scouting report on a game day roster call-up sheet. More than a tale of gays playing football, it’s a chanson de geste by a gay author who loves the beautiful sport and the different people across the world who play it.