“I didn’t scream the first one, but I moved my hands a little bit in the second one because I couldn’t contain myself. But when he listened to the Imperial guard screaming my foot moved by itself”. Agricultural experienced the most important day in its history in the resounding victory for the Argentine Cup against Racing and its president, Bernardo Grobocopatelnever hid the contradiction of emotions generated by the confrontation between his two loves (a fan of the Academy and founder of Soybean) that allowed him to fulfill the last promise he made to his father.
The small growing club – with powerful roots – is located in Carlos Casares (300 km from Buenos Aires) and has one of the most unique stories of recent years in Argentine football. The Grobocopatel surname speaks for itself. Bernardo is the nephew of Gustavo, the visible face of the business group that based its fortune on the power of soybeans. Ten years ago, after listening to offers to manage some clubs in the country, he decided that he should make the leap to football but in his own way.
“The only thing that makes me happy is football. I was always happy on a court, but I had two limitations to play: the left leg… and the right. Then it occurred to me to create a village club and we started to play the local league and Argentino C with 400 teams. We put together a team with the best players in the area and after four months we found ourselves in Federal B. We had to build the field at a very fast speed”, revives before Infobae from the airport about to start his return from Jujuy after the victory against the Academy who sent his club to the great sports marquees.
Ten years after that foundation stone, Agropecuario grew gradually but with the acceleration provided by the economic support to set up campuses and Bernardo’s obsession with understanding the fabric of the world of soccer: “After four or five championships in Federal B, we ascended to Federal A and we put together the team in 20 days because we were the last to be promoted. In 11 months we were champions”.
The name of Agropecuario was already beginning to resonate in the world of soccer, but the first blow on the table came in mid-2018 when They were one game away from being promoted to the First Division after falling in the semifinals of the Reduced Division of the First National B against San Martín de Tucumán. The questions were positioned on that club from a city with about 20 thousand inhabitants and that in a handful of years had had a meteoric growth with a squad that had some well-known figures such as Fabián Assman or Facundo Parra.
Grobocopatel does not escape the sayings about economic power, but clarifies about this club that today is in the middle of the table of the First National: “There is a myth that Agropecuario pays a lot. We pay well, we are never behind in 120 months, but we pay normal. There are some clubs with three times more budget”.
He also does not hide that his obsession with soccer leads him to intervene in most of the decisions of the team’s assembly: “In the choice of technicians I influence 100%. I see ten options, but I have the last word, yes. It is that you are giving him the trust of your love. In the players it is very difficult, because it does not work for me, I am not trained. The technician is one, you can miss or hit. I have two scoutings and always a technical friend who helps me. I ask everyone. And yet you are wrong when choosing footballers. Of course, the negotiations are carried out by me”.
Also, despite the sporting success, he identifies some “strategic” mistakes in these ten years that prevented him from attracting more neighbors to encourage them. Carlos Casares, he clarifies, is a “fierce city” that has always beat to the sporting rhythm of his prodigal son, the legendary pilot Roberto Mouras. The soccer advantage that he took with some of the centenary clubs of the city did not collaborate either. “When you form a club from scratch you learn,” he reflects.
During the pandemic, Agropecuario was also in the news despite the total stoppage of activities: Grobocopatel announced a salary increase for its employees. “The economy did not change me in broad strokes”, recognize. And he explains: “The pandemic did not harm my activity, which is agricultural production. It was a decision to say I make the effort, because I had to put my own money. And it worked because there was a commitment to the shirt. The two championships that followed were close to fighting at the top. The truth that worked. It was a business decision to do it: one says do something different and ask for something different”.
Bernardo divides his hours between his leadership role in the Soybean, his three children and his company Sudamericana Granos, which is dedicated to the collection of grains. Precisely, that firm is the main sponsor of the Carlos Casares club, which also has as a second commercial support a company linked to agricultural machinery. “We have sponsors, friends, clients of the company and my company also always collaborates. It is a difficult environment, but there is nothing else in life that I like more. Soccer is my passion and my life. I fulfilled my dream: If you told me to face Messi’s PSG or Manchester United, I would tell you Racing”, he clarifies.
The fanaticism of the leader of Agropecuario for the Academy. There was even a decision in the preview of the match that generated controversy: added to the jersey Soybean the phrase “thank you dad for making me Racing”. But behind that was Bernardo’s last emotional promise to his father: “My old man accompanied me for a year and a bit, but then he fell into a coma. I made him a promise that if he did everything possible to wake up, I would do everything possible because Agropecuario played with Racing for the points. We were able to do it and I know he was there in one way or another. I felt that I fulfilled the promise. When the game ended, my reaction was to cry and hug my children. And it was because of this.”
Bernardo recently decided to delegate many of the decisions to the manager, who is his brother-in-law, although it cost him “an arm” to stop always being on the operations board. The constant trips out of the country and the hours lost with his children were the trigger. “I had to do it because it was not life. Lost time is not recovered, but it is to return to my family a little of all the acts that I missed, birthdays, events. They are happy as well. They are soccer fans”, portrays Valentín (15 years old), Juliana (10) and Pedro (9), who took their first steps in life while their father built his dream of having a competitive soccer club.
Grobocopatel clarifies that the directive “is rotating” and ensures that Agropecuario is a social club: “We were youth champions, the first to have women’s football, we have a pension for 60 boys,” he lists. And he clarifies that his immediate desire is achieve promotion to Firstat the same time that it underlines that this project is far from being identified with the overwhelming and fleeting fury of Loma Negra de Olavarría in the 1980s at the economic rhythm of Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat.
“We’ve been playing for ten years and we never stop growing. We are adding fans and many people got to know us. Today five million more people know us for playing against Racing and against Boca (next rival in Copa Argentina) all River fans are going to support Agropecuario. There we already talked about millions of other fans who are going to meet us. We are continually sowing things”, explains the strategy to install the brand of a squad that today has experienced names such as Matías Fritzler, Emanuel Dening or Néstor Moiraghi under the command of Diego Osella.
For now, this club that took its first formal step in football a decade ago is also surprising for its facilities that contrast with that city of an agricultural nature. To pension for 60 players and 20 bathrooms is attached the 17-hectare property where there are 6 courts with automatic irrigationwhile they are finishing 2 more courts. The stadium, called Ofelia Rosenzuaig Stadium in honor of Bernardo’s grandmother, it has capacity for about 8 thousand people. In the city you have to add the rental of some 60 houses, a clothing stall in the center of Casares and the creation of 20 three-room houses that in the last time they saw how the pace of construction stopped “because the pocket can be big, but not that much”.
Agropecuario, born in the soybean heart of the country, wrote during the last hours the most outstanding page of its brief but exponential history. The next rung in his challenges is called Boca Juniors (rival in the Copa Argentina quarterfinals) and the Soybean He hopes that this will be his main dish before that final blow that he has been planning since he was born: to get to first.