19 de Febrero del 2018 8:20 am.
For years, Santos Laguna has paid homage to figures in the community who consider themselves fans and embody the passion and values of the club. On Wednesday night at Estadio Corona, another public figure was honored in front of thousands.
Torreon-native and two-time Super Bowl winner Raul Allegre was recognized as an official ambassador of Club Santos Laguna at halftime during the team’s exciting 5-1 win over Leon. Allegre, currently an ESPN color commentator for the NFL, won the Super Bowl in 1986 and 1990 with the New York Giants.
Allegre began playing football as an exchange student in 1977 at Shelton High School in Washington state. Initially a soccer forward, he was drafted to the high school football team where broke all previous kicking records in one season. His success in high school carried over to offers from colleges, and from there he continued to play the sport that he made into a successful career until he retired in the 1990s.
He now lives in Austin, Texas with his family. During his most recent return to his hometown, he says the welcome from the fans and Santos President Alejandro Irarragorri was truly something special and unexpected.
“I received a message from Santos after I saw Alejandro at the airport. I was already planning to go to the game with my nephews. Alejandro had invited me on prior occassions; he had scheduled a visit to the organization. I first knew him in 2008 when he contacted me and gave me a plaque for my induction into Torreon’s Sporting Walk of Fame. There was an on-field recognition in February at the old Estadio Corona.”
Wednesday night marked the second time in his career that Allegre would take the field to receive recognition where his Guerreros play, and where he was able to address his second family: the fans of Santos Laguna.
"In the broadcasts of ESPN I always maintain that I am originally from Torreón, a Guerrero de Corazón,” he said to the crowd. “Being in La Laguna is always a pleasure for me. It's a pleasure and I'll continue in this way until I leave."
Recalling the experience, Allegre says the joy comes from feeling like a part of a great family.
“The fans were very nice and received me well,” he expressed. “I was able to live the experience on the field with my wife, my sister, my niece, and my two nephews. I was not sure how the fans were going to react but they were so nice and friendly, so positive. And really, they haven't asked me to do anything differently than I've already done. I’ve been promoting the club for years! I guess now we’ve made it official.”
Returning to Torreon in a stadium packed with energy served as a reminder of one of Allegre’s fondest memories: living the 2001 Championship final against Pachuca, where he saw his current ESPN colleague Jared Borgetti lift the trophy and finish as top goalscorer that same year.
“I think one of my best memories about the club is the second title in 2001 when we beat Pachuca, he said. “I had an event in Monterrey the Saturday before, so I went to the game with my brother. We won 3-1, and they needed to win, because they lost in Pachuca the first leg. I remember the game-winning goal; I was there to see it. That was special for me because I was there, living it when they won the championship.”
Apart from his much closer connection to Santos now that he’s been named an official ambassador, he says he is thankful for social media and television mediums which keep him connected.
“When I played football – and remember, these were times without social media and television presence of what it is now. My parents in Torreon didn't really get to see me unless I was featured on a Game of the Week.”
Now, aside from his broadcasts, social media helps with everything, he says, incluing the promotion of his Guerreros. “When Santos was in the final in 2015 I watched from TV, both legs. I wasn’t there in person but I still posted several pictures on my social media.”
During his nine seasons in the NFL, Allegre scored 137 field goals in 186 attempts, and 183 extra points for a total of 594 regular-season points, plus 30 postseason points. His longest field goal was 55 yards in his rookie year. He never had a blocked kick