Houston Texans host youth camps, visit soccer teams during Mexico trip

Victoria Hernandez
USA TODAY Sports+

American football met fútbol when the Houston Texans took a recent trip to Mexico.

The Texans held youth camps in both Monterrey and Mexico City, running drills and sharing dance moves with more than 250 kids. 

Houston defensive lineman Ross Blacklock and linebacker Garret Wallow joined mascot Toro and cheerleaders Rose Troche and Jessica Galvan for the trip. The players, who signed autographs and took pictures with the campers, said the experience was a special one and gave them a larger sense of community.

"This experience has been really fun," Blacklock, who enters his third year with the team, said in a press release. "A really eye-opening experience. To be able to be out here with our fans from Mexico, getting all the love and support from another country, getting to know their culture, I'm excited to keep learning and I'm excited to be here."

Interacting with the fans was also heartwarming for Wallow, who will be playing in his second year for Houston.

"We've met a lot of great fans. A lot of fans that I don't even think we knew we had," he said. "We've built a lot of good connections with them. Their energy has been very high. Very supportive. Very loving and with open arms. It's been good to come here and give back to them and learn from them and have them learn a little from us."

In Monterrey, they met Tigres UANL players Nahuel Guzmán and Mia Fishel, who has also played for the U.S. women's national team. The players swapped jerseys and posed for photos.

Tigres has been active in reaching a hand across borders. Their women's team, Tigres Femeneil, united with NWSL team Angel City FC for a landmark partnership between the two countries.

In Mexico City, the Texans met with Club America's Alison Gonzalez and Scarlett Camberos at the renowned Estadio Azteca where both Houston players got to hold the team's eagle mascot.

Houston played at the stadium in 2016 and lost to the Raiders. The historic venue will again host an NFL game this season when the Arizona Cardinals face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11.

Throughout the trip, there was an emphasis on the power of sport to unite people.

"That's what it's all about: be able to have an impact on those kids and have an impact on this country and these people," Blacklock said. "It shows how much football can bring people together."

Houston, Monterrey and Mexico City will all host games during the 2026 World Cup.

The Texans start training camp July 29.