Entertainment

Bet You Didn’t Know These 25 Athletes Are Latino

The NFL, NBA, MLB and FIFA are full of athletes you probably didn’t know are Latino. If you follow any of these sports, I challenge you to identify them.

1. Tony Romo

Source: Tony Romo. Digital Image. Sporting News. December 15, 2016.

Romo was a former quarterback after spending his earlier days in Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for 14 seasons. Romo holds several Cowboys records under his sleeve, including passing yards, passing touchdowns, games with more than three touchdown passes, and most games with at least 300 passing yards. He retired in 2016 after a preseason back injury. Currently, he is an NFL analyst on CBS Sports for their telecasts show. Although he is U.S.-born, he has Mexican heritage on his grandfather’s side.

2. Dan Haren

Source: Dan Haren. Digital Image. MLB. March 8, 2016.

He is a former American professional baseball pitcher and among the small group of Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers to have beaten all the 30 major league teams. He completed his career with an incredible three All-Star game appearances and was named the seventh best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the major league history.

Haren was born in California but has Irish and Mexican backgrounds.

3. Nene

Source: Nene. Digital Image. Washington Post. February 10, 2013.

The professional basketball player is among the sports superstars who rocked our screens for years when he played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His successful three-year stint in Brazil earned him an NBA invitation to Chicago. He would later be a victim of injuries which saw him miss a lot of matches. During his career, he received many awards including being named second in the NBA in field goal percentage, fifth for NBA Most Improved Player award, among others.

This Houston Rockets player was actually born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Doesn’t he look sexier now?

4. Adam LaRoche

Source: Adam LaRoche. Digital Image. Dead Spin. April 13, 2016.

Having played in 12 seasons in the Major League Baseball (MLB), Adam LaRoche was named as a senior in an All-American baseball. His major achievements were his two milestones where he reached his career-high 33rd home run recording a career-high of 100RB and earning him the first Gold Glove including the Silver Slugger Award. Don’t get fooled by his looks, Adam LaRoche is proud of his Mexican roots on his father side.

5. Anderson Varejao

Source: Anderson Varejao. Digital Image. Sporting News. May 29, 2015.

He is a 13-year NBA veteran, 12 of which were spent playing for Cleveland Cavaliers. Between 2002 and 2014, he competed in every world championship and finally won a gold medal at Pan American Games in 2003. It is while at Golden State Warriors that he was given a championship ring after winning the NBA championship in 2017. Varejao was born in Colatina, Brazil. Besides playing for the Golden State Warriors he has actually played on Brazil’s national team!

6. Al Horford

Source: Al Horford. Digital Image. Slam Online. October 4, 2016.

Alfred Joel Horford Reynoso, Boston Celtics players, was born in the Dominican Republic. He played a key role as the starting center on the Gators team that won the back-to-back NCAA national championships in 2006 and 2007. He also holds several other achievements under his belt, including a five-time NBA All-Star winner, the first Hawks pick to earn an All-Star berth after Kevin Willis in 1992, and a bronze medalist at the FIBA Americas Championship which earned him All-Tournament honors.

7. Walter Herrmann

Source: Walter Herrmann. Digital Image. Marca. August 17, 2009.

He was a key player of the senior squad in the Argentine basketball lineup. His team won the gold medal in the memorable 2004 Olympic Games. During his time at Flamengo, he played in the top-level Brazilian League and won the 2014 edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup.  During the 2015 and 2016 season, Walter played for San Lorenzo club and they became champions of the Argentine League, as well as the Argentine League’s Finals MVP title. Former Detroit Pistons player, was born in  Venado Tuernto, Argentina.

8. Andre Ethier

Source: Andre Ethier. Digital Image. Realtor. Mar 15, 2017.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Andre Ethier is Mexican on his mother’s side. He is a former professional American baseball outfielder who played in the Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His major achievement includes a Silver Slugger Award in 2009, All-Star selections in 2010-2011, and a Gold Glove Award in 2011 alongside other celebrities such as Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw giving the Dodgers team three Gold Glove winners in one year for the first time in baseball history.

9. Rudy Fernandez

Source: Rudy Fernandez. Digital Image. Solo Basket.

Born in Mallorca, Spain, Rudy Fernandez has played both in the NBA and the European Basketball League. The three-time All-EuroLeague Team selection who eventually won the league in 2015-2018, was also an NBA legend and an All-Rookie Second Team member. Currently, he is representative of the senior Spanish national basketball team. Among his achievements are the FIBA World Cup he won in 2006, two magnificent Olympic silver medals back in 2008-2012, and a bronze medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

10. Manu Ginobili

Source: Manu Ginobili. Digital Image. Business Insider. May 23, 2017.

Though retired from professional basketball, Ginobili became one of the two known players to win a EuroLeague title, an Olympic gold medal, and an NBA championship. The four-time NBA champion was nicknamed “Big Three” alongside teammates Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. To add to his achievement collections, he has won two Italian League MVP awards, EuroLeague championship in 2001, the EuroLeague Finals MVP and the Triple Crown. Born Emanuel David Ginoblini, this former San Antonio Spurs player is Argentinian-Born.

11. Jeff Garcia

Source: Jeff Garcia. Digital Image. Sportige.  October 23, 2013.

Garcia has Mexican and Irish heritage. The former Canadian football and American football quarterback is a four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and earned UPI All-America honors in 1992. He is one out of ten quarterbacks who have achieved an overwhelming thirty-touchdown passing season two consecutive times in his career. Also, he is one of only thirteen other quarterbacks to achieve a 99-yard touchdown pass.

12. Tiago Splitter

Source: Tiago Splitter. Digital Image. Sacurrent. July 1, 2015.

Tiago Splitter was born in Blumenau, Brazil.The forme basketball player spent seven seasons in the NBA. He is a three-time All-EuroLeague Team selection and the first Brazilian player to win an NBA championship in 2014 with San Antonio Spurs.  He won gold medals with Brazilian national basketball team at the FIBA Americas Championship (2005, 2009, 2011), Pan American Games in 2003, and South American Championship in 2003. Unfortunately, he announced his retirement in February 2018 following a hip injury that affected his career.

13. Luis Scola

CREDIT: Indiana Pacers forward Luis Scola shoots a free throw against the Chicago Bulls in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, March 21, 2014. Indiana won 91-79. (AP Photo/R Brent Smith)
Source: Luis Scola. Digital Image. La Tercera.

From Argentina to China!  The Argentine professional basketball player was voted to the famous NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2007. Earlier in 2004, he won an Olympic medal and a bronze medal in the Summer Olympics in 2008. As a result of these achievements, he was named the flagbearer for Argentina’s national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Scola now plays in the Chinese Basketball Association

14. Ted Williams

Source: Ted Williams. Digital Image. Doc Stull. September 19, 2016.

Ted was a nineteen-time All-Start, a six-time American League (AL) batting champion, a two-time award winner of the AL Most Valuable Player Award, and a two-time winner of the Triple Crown. The legend even dedicated three years of his time to serve in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy during World War II.

Williams was born in California but had Mexican background. Some claim he was the first latino baseball star.

15. Leandro Barbosa

Source: Leandro Barbosa. Digital Image. NBC Sports. January 18, 2013.

Another Brazilian on the list! Barbosa was born in Sao Paulo and won the highly contested NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award including an NBA championship with the Warriors. On the list of his accomplishments is the Brazilian Basketball League he won with Bauru. After he reassigned with Warriors in 2015, he helped the team win an NBA record of 73 games to record an all-time high from the record set in 1995 and 1996 by Chicago Bulls.

16. Ryan Lochte

Source: Ryan Lochte. Digital Image. LA Times. April 27, 2017.

The twelve-time Olympic medalist holds impressive world records in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and 4×200-meter freestyle long-course. Currently, he is the world record holder in the 400-meter individual medley short course and 200-meter individual medley long and short course. The incredible performance in these competitions has earned him several awards including the World Swimmer of the Year Award, SwimSwam’s Swammy Award, and a two-time American Swimmer of the Year Award. Lochte was born in New York but is Cuban on his mother’s side. Who knew?

17. Ronda Rousey

Source: Ronda Rousey. Digital Image. Mike Swick. November 21, 2017.

To add to her gifts, Rousey is a professional wrestler, a mixed martial artist, an actress, author, and judoka. Currently, she is signed to WWE and won the Raw Women’s Champion in her first reign. She has had successes in both the King of the Cage and Strikeforce events where she was crowned the last ever Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Ronda has also enjoyed great success as an actress and author by featuring in the films The Expendables, Furious 7, and Mile 22. She further released her autobiography in 2015 called My Fight/Your Fight.  She has Venezuelan and Trinidadian roots!

Read: 20 Facts About Ronda Rousey’s Strength Before Her Next Big Fight

18. Carmello Anthony

Source: Carmelo Anthony. Digital Image. Business Insider. September 23, 2017.

Anthony as Puerto Rican and Venezuelan background on his father side. The Houston Rocket’s basketball team player is a ten-time NBA All-Star and six times All-NBA Team member. In 2003, he kicked his career and won the national championship as a freshman with Syracuse Orange. He was also crowned as the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. He was the bronze medalist in 2004 Summer Olympics and a gold medalist at the Summer Olympics in 2008, 2012, and 2016. On top of that, he holds the title for the all-time leading scores in the United States Olympics men’s national basketball team.

19. Victor Cruz

Source: Victor Cruz. Digital Image. Chicago Tribune. May 30, 2017.

Known for his role as a wide receiver in American football, Victor Cruz has a couple of feats under his sleeve. He won the Super Bowl XLVI with New York Giants in 2012 and the explosive 99-yard touchdown catch during his time in the Giants against New York Jets. His impressive 89 yards after the catch is one of the most recorded ever by a receiver on a 99-yard reception. Cruz is known for his popular yet hilarious celebration of a salsa dance after every touchdown. Quite an entertaining basketball player! He was born in New Jersey to a Puerto Rican mother.

20. Reggie Jackson

Source: Reggie Jackson. Digital image. Sports Illustrated.

he flamboyant and outspoken Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder is known for his incredible postseason achievements. In 1971, Jackson helped lead the Athletics to the all-time American League Eastern Division Title with an impressive 32 home runs. Two years later (1973), he became the unanimous winner of the popular American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. The crowning of his tremendous achievement in his career came on August 1993, when he was named the 216th inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Surprisingly, he was the only player to be honored in that year.

Reginald “Reggie” Martinez, born in Pennsylvania, is Puerto Rican on his father’s side.

21. James Rodriguez

Source: James Rodriguez. Digital Image. Colombia. July 27, 2017.

Former Real Madrid star, was born in Cucuta, Colombia. The Colombian footballer now plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Bayern Munich. From his vision, technique, and playmaking skills, it’s no doubt that he is one of the best players of his generation. His career kicked off when he won the Toulon Tournament in 2011 with Colombia’s under-20 team. Following his outstanding performance in the tournament, he was included in the senior squad and played in the 2014 FIFA World cup where he won the Golden Boot as the top scorer.

22. Radamel Falcao

Source: Radamel Falcao. Digital Image. Goal.

Simply known as Falcao, the Monaco FC star was born in Santa Marta, Colombia. The Colombian striker is the captain for both Monaco and Colombia national team. During his era in River Plate, he won the 2007 and 2008 Clausura tournament. He also won several titles, including the Primeira Liga and Europa League in 2011. While at club Porto, he became their all-time top goalscorer in most international club competitions setting the record for the most goals scored (17) in a European campaign. He is also the first Colombian to receive the Portuguese Golden Ball award.

23. Keylor Navas

Source: Keylor Navas. Digital Image. Sin Cuento. October 17, 2017.

The Costa Rican footballer who plays the role of a goalkeeper for Real Madrid and Costa Rica national team has won six national championships including the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2005. In 2014, he went on to become La Liga Player of the Month, making him the first goalkeeper to win the award. The same season, he was declared the goalkeeper with most saves in La Liga at a record of 267. His incredible performance in the 2017-2018 Champions League played a huge role in his nomination as the 2017-2018 Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season.

24. Laurie Hernandez

Source: Laurie Hernandez. Digital Image. Huffington Post. January 12, 2017.

Olympic gymnast and winner of Dancing with the Stars is Puerto Rican descent. Her appearance in the 2016 Summer Olympics couldn’t go unnoticed when she won the gold medal in the overall team event and a silver medal on the balance beam. In the same year, Laurie Hernandez featured in the Dancing with the Stars and won season 23 with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

25. Gonzalo Higuain

Source: Gonzalo Higuain.  Digital Image. Sporty News. October 9, 2017.

This hottie was actually born in France but is Argentinian descent and plays for the national team. His era in the world’s favorite Spanish clubs saw him win several titles including three La Liga titles and an award for scoring 107 goals in 190 leagues appearances. After his move to Napoli, he completed the season with a win of the Coppa Italia in his first season. Still, in Napoli, the 2015 ad 2016 season was another successful moment where he scored 36 league goals and won the Capocannoniere title. Higuain is currently a full Argentina international, and he has represented the country in three FIFA World Cups.

Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez Just Bragged So Hard About Her Parents And It’s The Cutest Thing

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Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez Just Bragged So Hard About Her Parents And It’s The Cutest Thing

@lauriehernandez / Instagram

In 2016, a group of five young athletes went to the Summer Olympics in Rio Janerio with big dreams. There, the Olympians competed to be named the best in the world in their individual and group categories. Nicknamed the “Fab Five,” the women went on to earn silver and gold medals at the international games; proving that the gymnasts were the best of the best.

That same year, Laurie Hernandez — a member of the five — also earned gold on the TV dancing show, “Dancing with the Stars.” The athlete then focused her attention on the literary world. In 2017, she published her New York Times bestselling memoir, “I Got This,” and, in 2018, released her children’s picture book, “She’s Got This.” Hernandez even has a new hosting gig on “American Ninja Warrior” to keep her busy.

It seems that with every challenge she takes on, she succeeds.

Now the gymnast has her eyes set on 2020 and her next shot at Olympic greatness.

Twitter / @LaurieHernandez

Recently, Hernandez sat down with REFINERY 29 and shared her thoughts on power. Specifically, the Olympian explained what makes her feel powerful and what she does in those occasional times when she’s left feeling a little bit powerless.

Unsurprisingly, the athlete explained that she feels most powerful when moving and active. She discussed her workouts, saying:

“Sometimes it’s just gymnastics, but sometimes it’s doing other things, too — like cycling. But just testing how my body works makes me feel most powerful.”

Hernandez went on to elaborate that — to her —  power isn’t just about physical strength. The Latina believes that power also lies in having a strong spirit and mind. She added:

“Gymnastics can be more mental than physical sometimes. So throughout training, going through different tests — whether that’s competing with a lot of people or just with yourself can build your mental strength. So, just learning how to calm myself down; I think that’s pretty powerful.”

The Olympic medalist admitted that it’s her relationship with her parents that brings her back when she’s feeling less than powerful.

Twitter / @Variety

Hernandez explained that even though she and her family are living on two separate coasts, her mom and dad are still the people she goes to when she needs a pep talk. She admitted:

“The first thing I do is reach out to my family and close friends. Sometimes I feel like they know me better than I know myself. Especially my mom and dad; they’ve been supporting me since day one. I feel like they have all the answers. Right now I’m training in California and my family is in New Jersey, so there’s a lot of FaceTime going on.”

Not only do her parents help her when she’s feeling powerless, but they are also her role models when it comes to strength.

Twitter / @OKMagazine

The Latinidad is very family-oriented so we can relate to this. Hernandez doesn’t just look to her parents to revitalize her when she feels powerless. She also considers them her examples when the athlete thinks about what power looks like. After asking if she could pick her mom and dad as her power icons in the interview, Hernandez continued:

“My icons are my parents. After having to raise three kids, they’ve gone through a lot of different struggles. My siblings and I have been able to do so much in our lives because we had a really good foundation. There’s only so much your parents can give you, and yet it feels like our parents really gave us the world.”

She went on to explain that the example that her parents provided her and her siblings early on setting them up for the rest of their lives.

“I think without that foundation and without the things they taught us when we were little, we wouldn’t be where we are today. They’re so kind to other people, and that’s something that I want to follow their lead on. So, they’re my power icons.”

Hernandez ended the interview by saying that her power anthem is Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Know” and it only seems too fitting because it looks like nothing can stop the Latina athlete from achieving her dreams. We will be rooting for more gold for the gymnast in her return back to competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Not One Of The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Players Is Latina, Here’s Why

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Not One Of The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Players Is Latina, Here’s Why

@downtownlasoccerclub

On July 7, the U.S. Women’s National Team went up against the Netherlands Women’s National Team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and USWNT took home the championship cup. During the team’s victory speech in New York, U.S. women’s soccer star and forward, Megan Rapinoe, said, “We got white girls, black girls, and everything in between.”

However, Rapinoe should have thought twice before making that statement. After all, what exactly did she mean by “everything in between” if the U.S. Women’s National Team didn’t feature a single Latina woman on its roster this year?

Rapinoe’s comments recently inspired a Los Angeles Times story about an L.A. girls soccer club trying to make the face of women’s soccer.

Columnist Bill Plaschke spoke to young soccer players from the Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club, whose team is mostly made up of Latina athletes “facing economic and cultural battles that have long kept them on the soccer sidelines.” The Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club is made up of 175 girls trying to change the face of women’s soccer that has historically been dominated by white women. 

“That’s why …. I like watching [the U.S. Women’s national team] and everything, but I still say my idol is Lionel Messi,” said 15-year-old-striker Nayelli Barahona

This critique of the U.S. Women’s National Football Team is not new. When they also held the title for world champions in 2017, NPR’s Latino USA published an article “Why Is Women’s Soccer so White?” 

Audio producer and journalist Michael Simon Johnson writes, “The United States women’s national soccer team is far from a beacon of diversity, especially when compared to their male counterparts. With few women of color––and no Latinas––the team is extremely white, in spite of soccer’s entrenched place in Latin American culture.” 

However, the issue isn’t that young girls of color aren’t interested in playing the sport. 

But rather, as NPR notes, “youth soccer’s play-to-play system favors not necessarily the most talented children, but the children of parents who can afford elite clubs’ steep fees.” Club soccer fees run from $2,000 to $5,000 annually, per the Los Angeles Times.

That’s where Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club comes in. Their club president Mick Muhlfriedel helps run the all-volunteer operation out of a middle school field in Pico-Union. According to Mulhfriedel, “some of the girls contribute $25 a month. Most pay nothing.” 

Since the 1991 World Cup, there have been 12 women of color on the U.S. World Cup or Olympic teams.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, 14-year-old girls drop out sports at twice the rate of boys. 

“Add in the lack of diverse role models and access, transportation issues and the cost, the number of obstacles facing girls of color in the game of soccer becomes poignantly evident. Although progress has been slow, there has been progress. It would be remiss to not acknowledge some of the black players who are trailblazing on the field,” writes Stephanie Taylor of Girls Soccer Network.

In September 2018, Hope Solo also penned an opinion piece that focused on what’s wrong when the U.S. women’s soccer teams are dominated by “white girls next door.”

She writes that race was something most people on the teams she played didn’t want to discuss or even acknowledge. 

“Over most of my 20-year career, I hadn’t realized how uncomfortable some teammates were around certain coaches or officials. Most players wanted to represent the US, to be at the Olympics or the World Cup, and they’re proud to be on the team. So they kept quiet. But those conversations with teammates who felt things were off, means race is an issue we need to discuss a whole lot more,” Solo writes. “The numbers are very clear. We need more men and women of color to represent US national teams. So few players of color representing the USWNT means there are great athletes across the country we are ignoring.” 

The Los Angeles Times also cites that according to NCAA reports from 2017-2018, only 8% of female soccer players were Latino women. This is why it’s so important to not only advocate for young Latina athletes but also help mobilize the conversations further surrounding not only gender parity’s in professional sports but also race. 

In the last two years, the Downtown Los Angeles Soccer Club has won three of their eight major tournaments and made it to the finals three other times. This fall, the Los Angeles Times writes that they’ll compete in the prestigious Premier division of the Coast Soccer League and compete in the California Regional League. 

The young Latina soccer players from the Down Los Angeles Soccer Club seem to be resilient soccer players passionate and determined.

More importantly, they seem resolute in their efforts to change the face of future World Cup and soccer matches that take place on a national stage.

Here’s to hoping we see some of these young talented players giving that victory speech or holding the cup in the future. 

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