Uruguay head coach Marcelo Bielsa is leading one of the top contenders at Copa America in the United States. Yet, he is doing more than finding success on the pitch. Bielsa won over droves of fans at Leeds for leading the club back into the Premier League. His personality and understanding of the club often meant more to Leeds supporters. He has extended that to Uruguay.

In addition to picking up a 3-1 win over Panama and finding wins in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying, Bielsa is building his relationship with fans. Uruguay started preparations for the Copa America with practices in the United States. Oftentimes, nations make these practices available for the public to watch. These free occasions allow supporters to see the team without paying for the massive ticket prices.

Federico Vera is a Uruguay supporter and native. The Uruguayan currently lives in West Palm Beach, just an hour north of where Uruguay was playing its opening game of the Copa America at Hard Rock Stadium. The Uruguay National Team was doing its training in the area of Vera in Palm Beach Gardens. Therefore, it was easy for Vera to attend this practice session. Unfortunately for Vera, inclement weather suspended the practice.

He managed to grab a word with Bielsa, who was leaving the field with a team. Bielsa, who had no obligation to deal with a fan, explained to Vera the situation. He said it was up to security to determine when the team suspended its practice and moved it behind closed doors. Still, Bielsa requested Vera’s phone number.

Later, Bielsa personally called Vera to update him on what happened at the training session. In addition to apologizing for the modified training session, Bielsa explained what the side did during its practice.

Marcelo Bielsa shows that Uruguay has the right man for the job

Speaking about the opportunity to speak to Marcelo Bielsa, Federico Vera said Bielsa had no obligation to speak to an everyday supporter. Vera may be Uruguayan, but he did not require any special treatment from a person of Bielsa’s stature.

“Even now, I am still wondering, ‘Who would take that time out of their day to do what he did?’. A famous person, of such magnitude, taking time out for little old me. I am nobody, just a Uruguayan far from his country,” Vera said.

Uruguay is not going to spend any more time in south Florida, which shows how rare of an occasion this was for Vera. The next game for Uruguay is at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Then, Uruguay concludes its group-stage matchups against the United States in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium. Of course, Uruguay could later feature in south Florida. The 2024 Copa America Final is at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. If Uruguay can reach the Copa America Final for the first time since 2011, Vera and Bielsa may be reunited.

For now, Bielsa’s focus shifts away from south Florida and on Bolivia. Three points against the Bolivians should be enough to guarantee Uruguay a spot in the last 16 of the Copa America.


Copa América 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Copa!
Copa América Schedule: Full schedule of all games for the 2024 tournament
How to watch: Information on where to find the games on TV and streaming
How to Stream Learn how you can stream Copa games live in 2024
Key Dates: Learn All the important dates to mark on your calendar
Copa (United States of) América: South America's biggest tournament comes back to the USA
2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer