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Mexico City

Mexico City

About

It doesn't just have to be a fantasy or a holiday destination. It can be home. We'll tell you all about it on this page, as well as linking you to those in the know. You don't have to be stuck in the same old same old. 

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A football mad city in a football mad country. There is plenty to see and do in Mexico City, a world mega city full of art, history, culture, food, and most importantly, football. You'll definitely be kept busy, as a day in the world's fifth largest city is never boring. With some of the friendliest and most welcoming people you could ever hope to meet, you'll be treated like family from day one. There's always a party, an event, or a gathering to be had, and always excellent food and drink to be enjoyed at such occasions. As for opportunities, you should definitely look at our friends at FutAcademy and Girls United.

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The facts...

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Where is Mexico City?

Mexico City is located within the mountains in central Mexico, within the Distrito Federal, encompassed by Estado de Mexico, around four to five hours drive in either direction from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The city is well connected throughout the Americas.

Basic Facts

  • Mexico has four timezones, with most of the country matched with Mexico City, which is six hours behind London.

  • Over the course of 700 years, Mexico City has evolved from an Aztec city on a lake, into one of the largest, wealthiest, most populated and most important metropolises on the planet.

  • The city is located at 2.2km above sea level.

  • The three big clubs of Mexico City are Pumas UNAM, Cruz Azul, and the biggest of them all, Club America.

  • Mexico City was the first city to host a FIFA men's World Cup twice.

  • Mexico uses the same plugs as the USA.

More Facts

  • The level of English spoken around the city is very high. Some basic phrases in Spanish will go a long way.

  • A few times throughout the year there will be pollution warnings, where people are urged to stay inside. School and club sport will be cancelled for those days.

  • The overwhelming majority of Mexicans are Catholic.

  • The class divide in the city is very noticeable, being very easy to determine the haves from the have nots.

  • There are plenty of bank holidays throughout the year, known as "puentes" meaning you get to enjoy manty three day weekends.

  • Traffic is on another level. What we have in the UK cannot be described using the same word. 

  • Mexico City has the most taxis in the world, being fairly cheap and easy to obtain. Many citizens use taxis as their primary mode of transport for all purposes.

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The visas...

 

Getting a work visa for Mexico is a fairly straight forward and largely hassle free experience. Some opportunities will likely bring you in on a tourist visa, and may never apply for your temporary residence (residente temporal). It's not a hot issue for government officials, so they're not really bothered about westerners coming into the country to work while on a tourist visa. These jobs will likely pay you in cash, or via deposits into a savings account. It's much better for yourself to gain the temporary residence, as it gives you the right to be in the country for a much longer time. We got ours after a three day trip to Costa Rica and a brief interview in the Mexican consulate. It offers you more protection as a worker and makes things a little more above board.

 

Types of Work Visas in Mexico

The National Institute of Immigration oversees all immigration in Mexico and issues work visas. Any foreigner who wants to work in the country must obtain a visa. For example, those working for Mexican companies need a residency visa with permission to work. Individuals working for a foreign company in Mexico for less than six months can instead get a visitor’s visa with permission to work.

Mexico has three different visas:

  • Tourist visa: Individuals with a tourist visa can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days for anything besides lucrative activities such as paid employment.

  • Temporary resident visa: This visa is for foreign nationals who want to live in Mexico for more than 180 days. In addition to the Mexico work permit, people with a temporary resident visa can live and work in the country for up to four years with a Mexico work visa.

  • Permanent resident visa: Foreigners looking to live and work in Mexico permanently need a permanent resident visa. People with close family ties in the country or those who have lived in Mexico for a long time can also apply for the permanent resident visa.

Requirements to Obtain Mexico Work Visas

Most employees accepting a position with your location in Mexico will need a permanent resident visa known as the Visa de Residencia Permanente. However, not all employees will meet the requirements, as they need to have family connections in the country, sufficient monthly income, or four years of regular status as a temporary resident. It may be wise for companies to apply for a temporary resident permit for employees who have been invited to Mexico to work or have real estate or close family ties in the country.

While some of the requirements differ between the two options, some common documents required include the following:

  • Visa application form

  • Valid passport

  • Copy of migratory document

  • Photo ID

  • Invitation from a public or private institution

  • Proof of finances, education, employment, and relationship with a Mexican citizen

Application Process

Foreign nationals looking to work in Mexico for more than six months need a temporary resident visa with approval to work. This setup requires you, as the employer, to apply at the Mexican Institute of Immigration. If approved, the employee must apply for the relevant visa at the Mexican consulate in the applicant’s resident company. Once you or the employee receives word that the visa application is accepted, the employee must visit the consulate to get the necessary visa within 15 days.

This entire procedure gives employees a temporary resident visa, along with permission to work, that’s valid for 180 days. After arriving in Mexico, the employee has 30 days to register with their local immigration office and receive a temporary resident card, which is valid for up to four years. After the card expires, the individual has to either obtain a permanent resident visa or move from Mexico.

Other Important Considerations

While it’s possible to convert a temporary resident visa into a permanent resident visa, foreigners with a visitor status cannot convert it to work status. Individuals who have a company they want to work for in Mexico can apply for a work permit and stay in the country until they get the permit at the consulate of their home country. They must leave Mexico to collect the permit, and they can then apply for a residence visa.

Info taken from globalization-partners.com

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In their own words...

 

Why did you choose Mexico City?

  • Always wanted to work in a Latin American country.

  • I saw it as a great first opportunity to coach abroad.

  • I was working somewhere else at the time, and didn't enjoy the work environment. There had been adverts for Mexico jobs before, but the timing wasn't right. What appealed to me was seeing another culture, learning another language, and being in a football crazy part of the world. Beyond that, I had little idea what to expect.

  • There is so much history to explore.

What is the best thing about living in Mexico City?

  • So many things but the people and the food.

  • People who you coach are very welcoming and the food is great.

  • For me, it has to be the amount of people who are into football. They follow European as well as their own, and South American. The food is also great.

  • 14 pesos for a Coca Cola and the bottles are 600ml with extra sugar.

  • The people are welcoming and friendly.

  • The people. The food. The life.

What took some getting used to after moving to Mexico City?

  • Commuting.

  • The language can be an issues but if you try to learn Spanish and try to speak people respect that and will try to help.

  • The traffic and the noise. Mexico City traffic is insane, caused by overpopulation, poor planning, degrading infrastructure, inadequate public transport, and several other factors. It also felt like several nights per week, there would be a neighbour somewhere having a party until four in the morning. Noise complaints aren't really a thing. If you were to complain, you'd most likely be invited in, such is the friendliness found in the city.

  • Traffic and language.

  • Getting chased by stray dogs.

What is the standard of football like in Mexico City?

  • It depends what age group but generally it is a decent standard.

  • Very competitive, technically not the best as most of the time is long direct ball over the top.

  • Fairly high, but not as high as you'd think. Better than that in the USA, with the vast majority of the kids who play having at least some competence, unlike in the USA where a large percentage of kids playing is made up of low-skilled "rec" players. The better players would be on a par with anyone else in the world, but such players are sparse. Mexican youth football still makes all the old mistakes we did in England, centred around lumping it forward, never passing backwards, and coaches screaming at kids. The irony being that despite the frequent use of the hopeful hoof, their ability to challenge in the air is embarrassingly poor. In the best club in the pro men's league, Liga MX would likely finish mid table in the English Premier League. The women's league is improving, yet still would be around a division 2 or 3 college in the USA.

  • Professional level quite high - grassroots quite poor.

  • Mexico is a football country and people are very passionate about their teams and on game days, even people who are not going to the games will be wearing their team’s t-shirts or jerseys.

  • The talent is there. Best grassroots players I’ve ever worked with. The system you have to work in is not the greatest

What are some key cultural differences in Mexico City that someone may need to beware of before moving?

  • The celebrations can be quite noisy and be prepared for a lot of fireworks even during the day.

  • The food is a big difference and hygiene isn't as good as the England which can lead to food poisoning depending on where you go to eat.

  • People are very flaky. It's not uncommon for guests and invitees to not show up to something, even if you were talking about it the day before. This is due to two reasons. The traffic is so bad and unpredictable that many people don't even bother. The culture is also so relaxed, so if the shoe were on the other foot, they wouldn't be bothered if you were a no-show either. Another thing for me was the hugging and kissing of women and girls when you meet them. You have to walk a tightrope between not wanting to offend their culture, while also thinking back to your Safeguarding training of how you should be conducting yourself around players. Men typically opt for one of two bro type handshakes when greeting, which can lead to some awkward and mistimed handshakes. Also found that while self-deprecating humour is prominent, sarcasm isn't.

  • People living with parents into their 30s and 40s & celebrating Christmas at midnight on the 24th.

  • Don’t expect to be on time. Or others to be on time. Or to care about timings at all for that matter.

  • Voicemail & Communication, sense of time, concept of live and let live, class and racism, Spanish language.

 

Have you been able to forge a social life in Mexico City?

  • Yes although not as much as I would have liked as it was during COVID.

  • I was able to go out and see different parts of Mexico City whether that's football matches at Azteca Stadium or Pumas along with going to the city centre to see some of the history of Mexico.

  • Yes. So easy. There's always a party or a gathering going on, and people will treat you like family from day one. The people are so accepting of strangers, and Mexicans know a lot about the wider world, so will understand many of your cultural references. Within minutes of meeting someone, you'll have a drink in your hand, a new nickname, will have met grandma, and will be being forced to try all their food.

  • I loved my time there, and made some true friends. Both other expats and natives.

How safe and welcome do you feel in Mexico City?

  • 100 percent safe.

  • I felt safe in Mexico City just have to research the areas that are not the best places to go or be in at night time.

  • Safe, not so much. Like anywhere in the world, there are better and worse areas. The usual precautions apply. It's even worse for women, with the city being one of the worst places for women to live. Avoid travelling alone at night. Every few weeks, someone in your circle of friends will be posting their new telephone number on Facebook. The driving is horrendous too. As for welcome, the only issue is if they think you are American. Unless in a football setting, most Mexicans will assume anyone European looking with an accent is American. This can cause them to be a little standoffish, which changes immediately when they realise you're not Mexican, and then they become the exact opposite, almost making up for originally being frosty. People will want to talk to you and ask you about where you're from, as well as practice their English on you. They say that if you ask a Mexican for directions, even if they don't know the answer, they'll still tell you something because they want to be helpful.

  • Reasonably safe.

  • Mexican culture is endlessly fascinating.

  • First and last weekend experiences were not the best. But all in all I felt so welcome and safe throughout.

What changes do you see happening in the future of Mexico City football?

  • I think it is at a crucial stage as I believe they have or are stopping pro/rel for a while which I believe will be a detriment to the overall landscape in Mexico.

  • I hope to see a pathway into academies for footballer some quality regards of how rich or poor they are, the same goes for coaches to progress into full time role at professional clubs.

  • In my opinion, they are looking too much to the north, and copying from the USA. Private academies are popping up, pricing kids out of the game. Lots of college recruiting companies are making their way into clubs and schools, as for many of the richer families, their ambition is for their child to go to the USA to study. There are not many organic clubs left, with most kids belonging to a European affiliate (West Ham International Football Academy, Atletico Madrid Soccer School etc.) or a satellite club of a Mexican team. Club America have development teams all over the place, and even lower teams like Necaxa have soccer schools set up in the City. This makes the relationship between the club and the player different, as they are being viewed more like customers. With the dynamic shift, it becomes more about what you can sell them (or what gimmicks you can convince the parents to buy). A big positive is the huge increase in female football. It's slowly becoming more and more culturally acceptable for girls to play, due to the good work of organisations like Girls United, and to be fair to the Federation, the mandated funding of women's teams by the pro men's teams. For example, Tigres v Monterrey gets a similar attendance for the women's games as they would for the men's. Club America often play in the Azteca, and the star players of the national team are becoming more well known.

  • The more players we have at higher competition and in good environments and playing the best against the best, that’s how players get better.

If you had to convince someone to come to Mexico City, what would you tell them?

  • It's an experience you will remember for the rest of your life, take a leap of faith!

  • If you are going with the right club/company you will have the time of your life and have stories/memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

  • Do it. I got a wife out of it. I learned a new language. I got to immerse myself into a new culture. I now have family and friends in a really interesting part of the world. I have a new football club to support. Although it wasn't always easy, it was such amazing fun to be working in a football crazy city, and somewhere that I now get to call home.

  • It is a place where no matter where one looks, the old meets the new to create something unique

  • I left there 6 years ago, and I still think, dream and live the life lessons I learned because of that City

What are some of the misconceptions you have been presented with in regards to Mexico City?

  • Probably the biggest one is about the cartels and the crime but I honestly never saw anything out of the ordinary and felt very safe.

  • That it is violent every where in Mexico City which is not correct! There are some beautiful areas you just have look in where to go and where not to go.

  • The image that most permeates the cultural zeitgeist is one of dusty border towns, poverty, drug smuggling etc. The portrayals of Mexico in movies and on TV may be true for other areas of the country. It would be a bit like comparing Cornwall to London. Mexico City is massive, well built up, and very modern. There's not as much green space as I would have thought, which is reserved for parks in posh areas, and for getting out of the city. The level of spoken English is probably better than you would originally think too. The only real danger is probably a decent sized earthquake once or twice a year. Mexico City also rarely gets scorching hot. Once you get out of the city and down the mountains a little, there are some very warm temperatures. I have never been cold. It's always between warm and mild. The altitude also takes some getting used to. You'll likely sleep an extra couple of hours per night for your first few days there. You'll also think you don't notice it as you go about your business, but then when you try sprinting for the first time, it will feel like hitting a brick wall. You'll also not see many donkeys, and the mice don't run on two legs.

  • Everyone rides a donkey and wears a sombrero.

  • I really did not know what to expect, or what sort of life there would be. It is nothing like the UK, but that is only a positive.

Watch below to see a session on passing and moving with U14 girls from Reforma Athletic Club in 2015. As you can see, the level of English understanding is high. You can also see what typical facilities look like, and get an idea of the standard of player.

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The jobs...

Academies/Soccer Schools

There are a handful of private academies based in Mexico City that will hire coaches from the UK and Ireland. They operate in a similar manner to the camp providers in the USA, but on a much smaller scale. Coaches stay in company provided apartments (or are given a stipend to find their own place). Ten months of the year will be team training, working with the same teams and groups on a weekly basis, training teams for weekend games. The summer is for summer camps. The requirements to work in such a place are relatively low, providing a great opportunity for lower experienced or lower licensed coaches to earn a living coaching several hours a day. Pay is relatively low too, when compared to what one would be earning in a similar role back home. Yet, the wage does well for Mexico. These aren't typically roles in which you can save a lot of money, but you can live comfortably. Groceries and socialising are cheap, and all of your favourite western amenities are available in abundance.

Pro Clubs

Mexican coach education is rather behind by European standards. Many coaches in high positions were either educated abroad, or have very low licences. As such, organisations like MBP School have began filling that void with their online and in person courses. Having UEFA Licences will go a long way, when compared to the relatively basic FMF education.

The difficulty is in finding these positions. Mexican football is rife with nepotism and cronyism. The short-termism of the football culture leads many to appoint those who they know and trust. A lot of coaches have done very well by riding on coat tails. You have to network, make friends, and impress the right people. Such a culture is impervious to new ideas, so you'll find Mexican football can be a bit behind the times. This means that modern approaches aren't always recognised or appreciated. Expect to see a lot of training methods and delivery styles that we abandoned decades ago.

To get in, you have to be obviously better than any local options. Having a good level of Spanish will help with that, and you can do well on a UEFA B licence. Get a job at a private academy or soccer school, learn the culture, improve your Spanish, make connections, and within a couple of years, opportunities at pro clubs will be likely to come your way.

PE Teaching

There are a lot of private international schools in Mexico that teach from the British curriculum, where the kids and teachers speak English as a first language. Many Mexicans want their children to have opportunities abroad and look for pathways into American, British, and Canadian tertiary education. Due to the huge population, yet relative small size of the area, the population density of Mexico City means you're never too far from an English speaking private school.

There appears to have been a dearth of qualified PE teachers, as many of these roles can be filled by level two coaches. Just having a bachelor's degree and some basic coaching qualifications can be enough. It will never say this on the job spec itself, yet in reality, it happens quite frequently.

If you're on the ground in Mexico, it is easier to find the places that would employ you as a PE teacher without QTS. Some of the coaching companies even send their coaches to schools during the day time to take PPA sessions. That's right, the lack of PE teachers means some schools use soccer school coaches to handle their PE lessons.

The proper PE roles themselves, employed via the school, come with the standard package for working abroad in a teaching role. The salary is quite good, the living arrangements are taken care of, and you get good holidays. Not bad, really. I can think of worse ways to earn a living than wearing shorts all day, playing sport with kids, working in the sunshine, and going home to a nice apartment. One of the disadvantages, or advantages depending on how you look at it, is that PE has been neglected and undervalued, meaning accountability standards are low, and you often have free reign over what it is you want to do. Sport isn't valued academically, meaning many schools view the teacher as an activity leader to keep the kids occupied for an hour.

 

Example of a PE teaching job at a secondary school:

Teaching Job Benefits

Salary will vary depending on qualifications and job offered

9,000 -35,000 (Monthly salary in Mexican pesos)

Housing: provided by school

Utilities: to be paid by the occupants

Working Visa: paid by school

Airfare: Upon completion of a school year working with us you will be reimbursed for the cost of your plane ticket (up to 800usd).

Airport Pickup: Provided

Health Insurance Provided:

  • Public medical insurance

  • Private medical insurance

  • Mexican law awards all employees with a 15 days salary Christmas bonus (for a complete work year.

  • Saving fund (6% of salary will be deducted each payday and double by the school)

Training Provided: Yes

REQUIREMENTS:

A bachelor´s degree in related field of study is required. (Diploma required).

At least 1 year of experience.

Excellent presentation.

Net Salary: $10,151.00 MXN approx fortnightly (quincena) Includes attendance and punctuality bonuses

Extras: All staff receive a Christmas bonus (Aguinaldo) of 15 days of net salary.

All staff receive a Leaving bonus (Finiquito) at the end of their contract.

 

Paid holidays – according to Mexican Educational Authorities (a minimum of two weeks at Christmas, two weeks at Easter and five weeks during the summer). All staff are entitled to paid, monthly Well-Being Days.

 

All VICTORIA staff receive 24/7 accident insurance valid across the country.

All VICTORIA staff receive IMSS (national medical coverage), INFONAVIT (housing contributions) and AFORE (pension payments) as stipulated in Mexican Labour Law.

Teachers contracted outside of Mexico receive a monthly rent allowance, an internet allowance, as well as help settling into their new residence, and a yearly return flight to their country of origin.

Below are some of the private international schools in Mexico City.

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Example of a coaching job

Role Football Coach

Reporting to Venue Coordinator

Overview Working on behalf of FutAcademy and supporting a prestigious private school in Mexico

City under the direction of the Football Coordinator and Athletics Department, the

Football Coach will plan, prepare and deliver football coaching sessions in accordance

with the curriculum, methodology and philosophy set out by the Football Coordinator.

You will be required to work after school hours, and weekends, forming part of a

coaching team that trains with different age groups from 4yrs - 18yrs and competes in

regular in-house, external leagues and tournaments.

 

Salary Up to $14,000mxn pesos per month

+ Housing allowance of $5000mxn per month

+ Private medical insurance

+ Flight allowance of $7500mxn (paid upon successful completion of contract)

Hours Full-time – 37.5 hours per week, between the hours of 06:30 – 20:00 predominantly in

the afternoons and to include most weekends.

 

Roles & Responsibilities

General Duties Promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and young persons for whom you

are responsible and with whom you come into contact.

To plan, prepare and deliver football sessions in accordance with the curriculum,

method and philosophy of the coaching venue.

To lead both competitive and recreational matches during in-house tournaments,

external leagues and local and national tournaments.

Admin & Support To assist with all football activities as detailed by the company which may include

evening and weekend events as well as occasional major events outside regular

working hours.

• Assistance to Company Directors and the venue management in the preparation and

provision of equipment and facilities in support of the football program.

• Liaising with the cleaning contractor and staff responsible for events to ensure that

the cleanliness and safety is maintained.

• Maintain the storage of equipment and resources.

• Prepare sports facilities ready for handover to staff in charge of evening lettings.

• Dealing with problems, complaints or breakages as necessary.

• Promotion of sporting and extra-curricular opportunities.

• Attendance at coaching professional development days.

 

Health & Safety Be aware of the venue’s own H&S policies and procedures, in particular the Standard

Operating Procedures (SOP & EAP) Emergency Action Plan and Conditions of Use and

ensure these are adhered to by all users.

Ensuring health and safety procedures and practices are understood and the correct

procedures are followed.

Other

Miscellaneous

Responsibilities

To be available to substitute PE activities in schools when necessary. *Extra payment

per day

Liaise with the Facilities Assistant, Senior Caretaker and Grounds Manager over

bookings and use as necessary.

Any other reasonable activities as determined by the Company Directors or Venue

Coordinators.

 

Person Specification

Experience ESSENTIAL

F.A. Level 2 Certified (or equivalent).

Current valid CRB check.

First Aid Qualified.

Valid Child Protection Certificate.

2 years experience of coaching in a

youth football setup.

Native English Speaker.

 

PREFERRED

FA Youth Modules (or equivalent).

University graduate in a sports related field.

Experience of working in a school.

Experience of leading PE activities within

schools.

Experience of having worked abroad in a

sports environment.

Skills Excellent interpersonal, communication and customer service skills, with the ability to

interact effectively with players, staff, senior management and visitors.

Sound initiative with the confidence and the resilience to see a job through to completion

and to seek direction and guidance when needed.

Competent IT skills with intermediate level MS Office skills is desirable.

Good literacy and numeracy skills with excellent attention to detail.

Good administrative and organisational skills with the ability to organise and prioritise

work.

Ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure

Attributes An interest in sport/sporting activities.

Discretion, courtesy, honesty and integrity.

Reliable, punctual, and hard-working.

Smart, professional and presentable.

Ability to work as part of a team.

Training Preparedness to undertake training and development, as required, particularly in

relation to the introduction of new technologies.

Attendance at Professional Development Clinics.

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Articles and interviews...

 

Read about and listen to those who have been there and done it. Learn from their successes and failures. The best coaches are often the most happy to share and empower others. Here are a handful who know Mexico City well.

Cooking Food to Coaching Football - Neil Connor

Managing in the Women's National League - Chris Hames

#76 BFCN #50 What is it like to coach in Mexico?