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Liga MX big four... really? Not so much anymore.

The Mexican soccer landscape is changing - rapidly. Over the last 12 years, we've seen a dramatic shift away from the dominance of the so called big four.

While we prepare for opening day of the Liga MX Clausura in early January, it's hard to ignore how much Mexican soccer has been changing over the years. If you're not an avid follower, you probably haven't noticed - nor care. But to those fans who watch week over week, you do. And you see it - whether you like it or not.

Mexican soccer is dominated by love for four teams. Club America, Chivas, Cruz Azul, and Pumas comprise what people refer to as "the big four." According to a survey back in September by Reforma Cancha, they listed the following percentages for fan support. Club America (25%), Chivas (23%), Cruz Azul (14%), Pumas (9%). That leaves a small amount for the other 14 clubs.

But that creates a debatable question. Does that term even apply anymore?

Sure, if you look at support, these teams are still the big four. But in all reality, support was generated based on their dominance in Mexico in years past.

Since 2000, Mexico has crowned twenty six champions. Keep in mind, the Mexican season is split into two short tournaments (Apertura and Clausura) - that's why the number is so high.

Even though Mexican soccer has these big four clubs, the last 12 years are very telling about how the league is not only changing, but more importantly growing.

While Chivas lead Mexico all time in championships with 11, you'll only find them on this list once. And Club America has only lifted the trophy twice in the last 12 years. Cruz Azul has been the runner up a few times, but hasn't won since 1997. In fact, of the big four, only Pumas have seen success in the last decade with four championships.






2000, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010



2004, 2004, 2009, 2011



2001, 2003, 2006, 2007



2001, 2008, 2012



2003, 2009, 2010

Club America


2002, 2005
















In recent years, more northern teams have catapulted into the limelight, most notably Monterrey and Santos. Not only have they both won three championships, Santos has been the runner up four times, while Monterrey has finished second three times.

Both clubs have also seen success in the CONCACAF Champions League. Monterrey was crowned the 2011-12 CCL champion, while Santos was the runner up in a great final. Naturally, both their top strikers - Humberto Suazo (Monterrey) and Oribe Peralta (Santos) - shared the top scorer honor (7). Monterrey defended their crown having won the 2010-11 CCL as well. Currently they have a date with EPL powerhouse Chelsea in the Club World Cup on Thursday morning.

Our friends in Pachuca dominated Mexico the same years the Dynamo dominated MLS - both clubs winning championships in 2006 and 2007. Add that to their two in 2001 and 2003 and they have certainly seen their share of success after being promoted (for the fourth time) in 1998. In the last few years, however, the Tuzos have struggled to regain their dominance.

Pumas - the only one of the big four with success in recent years, were led by Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez when they won both championships in 2004. They added two more in 2009 and 2011. Pumas is a club that relies on their youth system and rarely brings in high dollar free agents. Chivas shares a similar system, but even with higher profile players haven't been able to replicate Pumas' success.

Toluca, who was the runner up in the Apertura 2012, has amassed the most championships in the last 12 years with five. They now sit second all time in Mexico with 10 championships.

Tijuana, the current champion, is a wonderful story. They have only existed for five short years and have only been in the first division for three short seasons. Now they sit at the top of Mexican soccer, and fans should fully expect them to continue to compete at a high level.

So back to the big four? Big... really? Not so much anymore.

Mexico is flourishing into an extremely competitive league. The once dominate clubs of the past have given way to a new breed of champion. While the big four still control most fans of Mexico, it's not that unbelievable as this trend continues, we'll see some of the above mentioned teams stealing fans from others.

With Tijuana sitting so close to the United States border and being home to a couple Mexican-American players, they could quickly become the US fan favorite in Liga MX. If they continue to have success in the next two or three years, we could see a host of American fans increase their interest in Mexican soccer. Their influence over the American soccer fans was evident when Univision aired the game in Spanish, while their cable station (Univision Deportes) aired that game in English. That's right - a Mexican soccer game in English.

The future is bright south of the border. Unfortunately, it's brighter for the minority of soccer fans - not the big teams. But that's a great thing, not a bad thing. This exciting shift in power is the perfect way to draw in new fans and reignite old fans that have given up on their team or the league.

On Mexico's biggest stage - anyone has a fair shot. If you're a Liga MX fan already, I know you'll be watching. If you're not, here's your opportunity to get started.