History of Club Santos Laguna
The origin of Club Santos Laguna dates back to 1982, when Tuberos de Colima ended up in the hands of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS). At the time, the team was located in Santa Cruz, Tlaxcala – a place that would eventually give name to los Guerreros of Club Santos Laguna because its citizens were called “Santos" or Saints.
The IMSS of Gómez Palacio, Durango finalized negotiations with the team and brought the franchise to the Comarca Lagunera region during the 1982-1983 season, calling them Santos IMSS. In 1983, the young Gomez Palacio team was crowned champion in the National IMSS Tournament, and was promoted to the Second Division “B”.
The first game at a professional level played by Santos IMSS was held at Estadio Corona, which they won 2-0 against Bachilleres. For the team’s first professional tournament, they posted a record of 19 wins, 11 draws and 8 losses, and finished with the league’s leading scorer in José Luis "El Puma" Rodríguez.
Twelve months later, los Guerreros were crowned champions again and were promoted to the Second Division “A,” just one step below the first division, or today’s current Liga MX. Later, the IMSS disassociated itself from football, and Santos was acquired by local businessmen Salvador Necochea and Juan Abusaid.
In the 1988-1989 season, the businessmen purchased “Los Angeles de Puebla,” combining the two teams to create one team in first division.
After struggling to maintain a place in the top flight during its first years, the team qualified to the playoffs for the first time in the 1993-1994 season, reaching the final where it fell short to Tecos.
Only two years later in the 1996 Winter Tournament, when Mexican football first changed its seasonal structure to two short tournaments per year (Winter and Summer), Santos Laguna won its first-ever title, defeating Necaxa at Estadio Corona.
Los Guerreros achieved their second title in the 2001 Summer Tournament, beating Pachuca in a thrilling game at Estadio Corona won in dying minutes.
In 2004, Santos competed in its first Copa Libertadores tournament reaching the Round of 16 after going undefeated in the group stage. They also defeated River Plate in Argentina, but were later eliminated in a penalty shootout with a dramatic and controversial refereeing decision.
The team faced its first encounter with the possibility of relegation in 2007, managing to narrowly avoid being sent back to the second division thanks to a 2-0 victory in the final game of the regular season against Cruz Azul, with goals by Oribe Peralta and Agustin Herrera.
The following year, under the guidance of newly-named president Alejandro Irarragorri, it was announced that los Guerreros of Club Santos Laguna would have a new home with the contruction of what is now one of the most advanced sports venues in the Americas: Territorio Santos Modelo.
After the threat of relegation, a historic victory, and with the announcement of TSM, the team had revived itself had strong showings in the following two seasons. By this time, the two tournaments had been renamed to Apertura (Winter) and Clausura (Summer).
In the 2008 Clausura, los Guerreros made it to another final and won their third championship after defeating Cruz Azul.
On November 11, 2009, Territorio Santos Modelo opened its doors for the first time and was officially inaugurated. The celebration included a friendly game against Santos from Brazil, where Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón was in attendance, along with global figures in the football industry such as Pele and then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter, among others.
Santos Laguna continued that celebration at home the following year after defeating Monterrey in the 2012 Clausura final, lifting the club’s first trophy in Territory Santos Modelo and its fourth in club history.
That same year, the team began a two-year run in international competition. Los Guerreros reached back to back CONCACAF Champions League finals in 2012 and 2013, and in 2014, returned to Copa Libertadores action where they once again reached the Round of 16.
After bowing out of Copa Libertadores, Santos Laguna lifted its first-ever Copa MX trophy in the 2014 Apertura, defeating Puebla in penalty kicks.
The 2015 Clausura brought about a period of restructuring which included the arrival of important foreign players and the departure of idols within the club. Los Guerreros won their fifth title that same tournament, beating Queretaro in the final.
Two months later, Santos won the “Campeones de Campeones” tournament – a game which pits two champions from the Apertura and Clausura against each other to decide the ultimate champion within Liga MX. Los Guerreros defeated Club America 1-0 in Dallas, Texas, adding a third trophy to the case in less than one year.
The team returned to CONCACAF Champions League action in the 2015-2016 season, bowing out in the semifinals.
In the 2015 Apertura, under the guidance of director Robert Dante Siboldi, the club became the first in history to lift titles in the U20 and U17 categories in the same tournament, and made history again in 2018 when it repeated the same feat, becoming the first and only club in Mexico to have both categories win in the same tournament twice.
Siboldi was officially named head coach of the first team in 2017, and guided the team to a title-winning run in the 2018 Clausura, the club’s sixth championship, when it defeated Tigres in the quarterfinals, Club America in the semifinals, and Toluca in the final.