|Full name||Club Atlético Bucaramanga S.A.|
|Nickname(s)||Los Leopardos (The Leopards)
|Founded||11 May 1949|
|Ground||Estadio Alfonso López
|League||Categoría Primera A|
Club Atlético Bucaramanga S.A., better known as Atlético Bucaramanga, is a professional Colombian football team based in Bucaramanga that play its home games at the Alfonso López stadium. The team was promoted to Categoría Primera A in 2015.
The greatest achievement of the team to date has been in 1997, when it reached the finals of the Colombian Championship, losing to América de Cali. This qualified the club to enter the Copa Libertadores de América the following year, when it reached the second round.
In 1948, within the Santanderean Football League, plans were made to develop a centre for football in Bucaramanga, similar to what existed in neighboring regions. The directors of the "Pielroja" team, winner of the local championship, invited Rafael Chaberman to assist in setting up a professional team. Chaberman, who had recently settled in the city, and was based in the "Cafe Centenario", delivered a speech to them on the subject in the Hotel New York. This led to the foundation of the club the following year under the name of "Atlético Bucaramanga".
The first meeting for the formal founding of the team was convened by newspapers and the local radio. That meeting occurred at the consulting rooms of Dr Elias Solano, because Santanderean League Soccer was an amateur association that had no license to promote professional football. The assembly proceeded to elect a board with the following result:
- Dr. Elías Solano
- Rafael Chaberman
- Vicente Díaz
- Miguel González
- Juan B. Silva (Treasurer)
- Manuel José Puyana
- Eduardo Villa
- Jorge Reyes Puyana
- José Vicente Niño
- Gustavo Mantilla
- Rafael Pérez
- Enrique Orduz
- Luis Fernando Sanmiguel
The first shareholders' meeting was on 25 February 1949. On 11 May a deed (No, 1132) was signed setting up a limited company under the name of Club Atlético Bucaramanga S.A. The director was Néstor Arenas, the treasurer was Juan Silva, and Jorge Arenas Buenahora acted as lawyer. There was $30,000 share capital.
Vicente Díaz Romero, president of Gran Colombia FC, Luis Alba Pinilla (Eleven Friends FC), Antonio "Terremoto" Duran (Girardot FC), Jorge Molina Barba (Freedom Concordia FC) and Simón Santander (Pielroja FC) were the most important local leaders in the formation of the first squad.
The authority for top league Colombian football, Dimayor, accepted the provisional registration pending ratification by their board, depending on the fulfillment of administrative requirements and on the outcome of a match against Once Deportivo of Manizales, a game which was won by Atlético Bucaramanga in the Estadio Alfonso López. In the end Dimayor approved the application for membership, enabling the Club to play in the 1949 Tournament. The team's uniform consisted of yellow shirt, white shorts and gray socks.
The first squad consisted of players from Bucaramanga, Barrancabermeja and Barranquilla. These players had an excellent record in amateur football and some had competed at national level with their regional team. The three "Pachingo" Guerrero brothers were all on the team: Francisco, a formidable center half, played in the 1950 tournament; Juan, on the left wing, and Jorge as an intelligent inside right, both had a long and successful career with the club. Carlos "Flaco" Mutis and Andrés Ramírez came from Girardot FC. Ramírez was a fast, elusive and lethal center forward. Other important members of the first team were Pedro Pinto (goalkeeper), Luís "El Chino" Becerra on the right wing, Luís "Pintao" Pinto and Samuel Otero (middle center) and Francisco "Pacho" Bohórquez (forward center), Alfonso "Chichimoco" Carvajal (goalkeeper); Lucas Martínez, "Jesucristo" Prada and "El Perro" Castillo, "El Loco" Ruiz, Noel Martínez, "Alambre" Carvajal, "Guarapo" Mendoza, Manuel López, Arturo "Chancharito" Cárdenas and Evelio Sierra. The first coach was Francisco "Pacho" Carvajal, former player with Millonarios.
Here is the complete line-up of Atlético Bucaramanga for its first game of all time:
In 1950 the first four Argentinian players joined the club: these were Antonio "Toto" Bernasconi (half-back), Norberto Juan Peluffo (center-half), Aristóbulo Deambrosi (right winger) and José Cayetano Fraccione (goalkeeper), nicknamed "the Flying Fish". Fans began referring to them as the Four Musketeers. They were the first of many foreign players to play for Bucaramanga. Others from Argentina were Felipe "Judío" Stemberg, Raúl Roque "El Colorado" Dimarco, Carlos Alberto Gambina, Miguel Ángel Zazzini, Nicolás Gianastasio, Enrique Pesarini, Julio Cesar Asciolo and Aristóbulo De Ambrosi, who later became coach for the club. Enrique Augurto and José Cardoza came from Peru and Carlos Alberto Umaña and José Joaquín "El Quincho" Quiroz were Costa Rican. Quiroz was especially renowned for his spectacular goals.
Atlético Bucaramanga fans and the press are fond of the nickname "Los Leopardos" (The Leopards). This name derives from the 1950s and comes from the yellowish uniform, resembling the animal's fur.
Due to the Bucaro tree that gave the name to the city in which the team plays, it is also common to refer to Atlético Bucaramanga or its fans as "Los Bucaros".
Atlético Bucaramanga plays its home games in the Alfonso López stadium.
- Opened: 1941, renovated 2017.
- Surface: Bermuda Grass.
- Capacity: 28,000
Since 2016 the team has used the Alvaro Gomez Hurtado stadium (capacity: 10,000) in the neighboring Floridablanca, since the Alfonso Lopez stadium is being renovated.
East Colombian Derby
Atlético Bucaramanga and Cúcuta Deportivo play one of the most famous derbies in the country, named the East Colombian Derby or Great Santander Derby. The first match was on 2 April 1950 in the Estadio Alfonso López. Cúcuta won 1–0 with goal by Luis Alberto Miloc. The most recent game was on 29 June 2011, also in the Estadio Alfonso López, and Bucaramanga won 2–0. Since 1950, this derby has been played 180 times. Atlético Bucaramanga have won in 57 of the matches, Cúcuta have won 61 and there were 59 draws. Bucaramanga have scored 233 goals and Cúcuta 244.
Although Cúcuta have had the edge in general, Bucaramanga won the most important game of the series in Cartagena in 2001 when the teams played for promotion to the A Category of the Colombian football league. After the usual 90 minutes then extra time of 30, the match went to penalties. Bucaramanga won 5–3 and the next year were playing in 2002 in the A Category, while Cúcuta was playing in the B Category until 2005. The "Leopard Team" goalkeeper, Leonel Rocco, was the hero of the game. That has been the only time that two rival teams from the same region have played a match determining relegation in the Colombian football championship.
- In 1994, after finishing in 16th place in the league, Atlético Bucaramanga was relegated to the second division, Primera B. Six months later (June, 1995) and after a short tournament due to changes in the championship calendar, the team won the second division title and returned to the top flight.
- The team was again relegated after finishing in last place in 2001 but played again in the first division in 2002 because Dimayor changed the regulation to increase the number of teams from 16 to 18. Atlético Bucaramanga and Unión Magdalena were promoted to the top flight, after they played against Cúcuta Deportivo in December, 2001.
- In 2008, Bucaramanga again dropped a division and spent seven seasons in the second division of the championship, now named Torneo Aguila, gaining promotion back by winning the 2015 Torneo Aguila.
"Fortaleza Leoparda Sur" is the name of the fans of Atletico Bucaramanga. They were founded in 1998 by young people in order to support the team, but over time socially marginal elements have attached themselves. As with many other such groups they are seen as the expression of social problems not inherent to football.
They occupy the south grandstand of the Estadio Alfonso López and have participed in peaceful protests in order to request government support to solve the difficult situation of the Club, but have also taken part in a number of acts of violence. In 2011, they physically and verbally attacked players of their team for bad results. The next year, on 10 March 2012 some of them fought against other hooligans in the Estadio Arturo Cumplido Sierra in Sincelejo in the middle of the game between Sucre FC and Bucaramanga. One man was seriously injured and 19 were arrested by the police.
- Runners-up (1): 1996–97
- Winners (2): 1995, 2015
- Runners-up (1): 2009
- Copa Libertadores: 1 appearance
- 1998: Round of 16
- As of 10 February 2017
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
Early Days and first great team (1951)
- Jorge Luis Pinto (2001)
- César Maturana (2003)
- Alexis García (2004–05)
- Miguel Augusto Prince (2007, 2010, 2013)
- Jesús "Kiko" Barrios (2010)
- Bernardo Redin (2013-2014)
- Jose Manuel "Willy" Rodriguez (2014-2016)
- Jose Flabio Torres (2016)
- Harold Rivera (2017-)
Alvarez, Alfonso (2000), Vida, pasión, muerte y resurección del Atlético Bucaramanga (in Spanish)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2013-08-09.
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