Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obscure soccer club of the week (April 20-26, 2009)

Club Presidente Hayes of Asunción, Paraguay.

The club is named for Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States.

"Why Hayes?", you ask. Most Americans would never even consider Hayes when listing their top-10 US Presidents, in fact, aside from possibly his own decedents, he'd be lucky to make anyone's list. But alas, Hayes is revered as somewhat of a hero in Paraguay. Hayes made news in recent times following the 2000 election in which George Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore yet won the Presidency. Similarly Hayes lost the 1876 popular vote to Samuel Tilden but was elected by virtue of the Electoral College and an Electoral Commission.

On this day last year Jenny Drapkin wrote an article at MentalFloss called "Rutherford B. Hayes: The National Hero of … Paraguay?" detailing just why Hayes is held so highly in Paraguay.

During the War of the Triple Alliance, Paraguay was heavily defeated by Argentina, Brazil, AND Uruguay (well, that hardly seems fair at all) during the war two-thirds of the Paraguayan people lost their lives.

After the war Argentina and Paraguay continued to fight over an area called the Chaco and traveled to Washington where, you guessed it, President Hayes acted as arbitrator. Hayes decided in favor of Paraguay became a hero to it's people.

With that said, while most school children in Paraguay are aware that Hayes was once a US President, many aren't aware of what he did.

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