Does Chile Deserve a Soccer Saint?

Grey Leads Movement to Canonize Coach for Getting Team Into World Cup

By Published on .

Most Popular

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the crazy world of Latin American futbol, it makes sense that a soccer coach who can get a long-shot team into contention for this year's World Cup should be considered for sainthood.

The Association of Chilean Soccer Fanatics created a digital sanctuary for soccer coach Marcelo 'El Loco' Bielsa.
The Association of Chilean Soccer Fanatics created a digital sanctuary for soccer coach Marcelo 'El Loco' Bielsa.
At least that's what the Association of Chilean Soccer Fanatics (Asociacion de Fanaticos del Futbol Chileno) thinks. With the help of Grey Chile, they created a digital sanctuary under the name "Light a Candle," where Chileans are invited to light 100,000 virtual candles as an initial step to creating Chile's first soccer saint.

Chileans credit their prospective San Marcelino, better known as Marcelo "El Loco" Bielsa, an insanely competitive coach, with restoring their faith in soccer by inspiring his hapless team of former losers since taking over the team almost two years ago.

To be considered for sainthood, the Vatican requires that candidates have performed three proven miracles. As far as Chileans are concerned, the first miracle has already happened. Chile beat Colombia 4-2 to qualify for this year's World Cup tournament, the first time in 12 years that Chile hasn't been trounced by other teams in the pre-qualifying matches and failed to gain a World Cup slot.

Get Global News delivered to your inbox -- register for the new weekly Ad Age Global newsletter.

Now all the Chilean team has to do is make it through the first round of matches when the tournament kicks off in June, and then go on to win the World Cup, enabling Chilean fans to send off their petition for sainthood for San Marcelino complete with three documented miracles.

At the digital sanctuary, a framed picture is displayed of Mr. Bielsa, surrounded by flickering candles and a soccer ball. The site has had more than 120,000 visitors, and so far 70,339 virtual candles have been lit.

In this article: