Things That Matter

20 Hottest Soccer Players From Latin America Playing In The World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is taking over Russia and we’re helping you narrow down your choices if you’re stuck on who to root for. Start trading and coming up with your roster thanks to some of the hottest World Cup players that will take the field representing their home countries in Latin America! Ole-ole-ole-o heyyy cuties!


1. Neymar: Brazil

CREDIT: neymarjr / Instagram

Neymar is going into the World Cup with the largest social media following and judging from this post on Instagram, we know why. We are praying he stays as #blessed as his back tattoo throughout this tournament and doesn’t get injured like in the 2014 World Cup. We need as much screen time as we can from Brazil’s favorite son.

2. Javier Hernández: Mexico

CREDIT: ch14_ / Instagram

Javier Hernández, better known as Chicharito, is one of the players Mexico is hanging its hopes on to make it out of the “fifth game curse.” We’re also holding out hope we can shoot our shot with the striker.

3. Jonathan Dos Santos: Mexico

CREDIT: jona2santos / Instagram

We’d like to be a fly on the wall behind 28-year-old midfielder for El Tri and the LA Galaxy. Jonathan Dos Santos’ smoldering gaze has us like 😍 😍.

4. Carlos Vela: Mexico

CREDIT: carlosv11_ / Instagram

Our third player we’re featuring from Mexico’s national team member is forward Carlos Vela. We’re ready to be his loyal supporter no matter who takes home the trophy.

5. James Rodriguez: Colombia

CREDIT: jamesrodriguez10 / Instagram

Between James Rodriguez’s million-dollar smile, freckles and salsa moves, it’s hard to not be a fan of Colombia’s national team. We are hoping he scores some goals during the World Cup to have more reason to sway his hips in front of our TV screens.

6. Radamel Falcao: Colombia

CREDIT: falcao / Instagram

Helping to lead Colombia’s national team along with James is striker Radamel Falcao. We would meet him at midnight in Paris, in Russia or really any place TBH. Just look at those toned arms! 

7. Paulo Dybala: Argentina

CREDIT: PauloDybala / Instagram

One of the fresh faces on Argentina’s national team is 24-year-old Juventus forward Paulo Dybala. We’re ready to melt away in those baby blues on and off the pitch.

8. Franco Armani: Argentina

CREDIT: francoarmani34 / Instagram

With Argentina’s main goalkeeper Sergio Romero out with an injury, Franco Armani has a chance to come out of the goalie box and straight into our hearts. Standing at a towering  6′ 2″, we could stare at this tall glass of agua all day long.

9. Giorgian De Arrascaeta: Uruguay

CREDIT: g10dearrascaeta / Instagram

Uruguay doesn’t usually make headlines when it comes to who will make the finals, but now we’re interested in finding out the odds of its national team advancing just so we can see more of 24-year-old Giorgian Daniel De Arrascaeta. Make sure to keep on his speedy skills as an attacking midfielder.

10. José Giménez: Uruguay

CREDIT: josemariagimenez / Instagram

It looks like Uruguay’s central defender José Giménez is a little chilly in this photo. We are up and ready to give him a big 🐻 hug to keep him warm!

11. Alisson Becker: Brazil

CREDIT: alissonbecker / Instagram

What do we have to do to get Brazil’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker to dive after us? Should we stand closer to the penalty box? All in favor, raise those hands. 👋 👋 👋

12. Patrick Pemberton: Costa Rica

CREDIT: @PPemberton01 / Twitter

We know Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Kaylor Navas gets all the glory, but let’s give a shout out to the reserve goalkeeper, Patrick Pemberton. He’s a little shorter than your average goalie, but what he lacks in height, he makes up in muscle. We’ll take it.

13. Bryan Oviedo: Costa Rica

CREDIT: bryanoviedo8 / Instagram

This Tico has told his fans to relax and not stress after Costa Rica faced two back-to-back defeats. Ok, Oviedo, we see you. Looks like our blood pressure is going down just by staring at that smile.

14. Jaime Penedo: Panama

CREDIT: jaimepenedo / Instagram

Goalkeeper (are you noticing a trend?) Jaime Penedo plays for Panama’s national team and we are memorizing the TV schedule to make sure we don’t miss him blocking those instep kicks. Based on his Insta posts, he likes to eat pasta and fine foods. Pasta, soccer and good looks? Sounds like the true #dreamteam.

15. Roman Torres: Panama

CREDIT: romantorres29 / Instagram

Can Panamanian defender Roman Torres celebrate like this each time Panama scores a goal at the World Cup? Like, just take a look at those washboard abs! I-C-O-N-I-C.

16. Pedro Gallese: Peru

CREDIT: pedrogallese1 / Instagram

Survey says…goalkeepers must be some of the most easy-on-the-eyes position when it comes to soccer. Peru’s Pedro Gallese is a concrete example of that. Look at his physique! Tall, muscular with lean muscle. Where can we sign up to buy a Peruvian national jersey?

17. Yoshimar Yotun: Peru

CREDIT: yoshiyotun / Instagram

This is Peru’s first time heading to the World Cup in 36 years. Will Yotun help his team proceed to be a Cinderella story? Who knows, but one thing we do know is that he sure looks dreamy in this fairytale setting. 😍

18. Lucas Biglia: Argentina

CREDIT: fc.lucasbiglia / Instagram

Hey Lucas Biglia, you need to stop biting Argentina’s jersey because this photo is making us bite our lips. 🙊 ☺️ Will the midfielder help Argentina get to the final? We’ll keep watching until the very end if Biglia has the ball.

19. Philippe Coutinho: Brazil

CREDIT: phil.coutinho / Instagram

Philippe Coutinho is another soccer player on the lengthy list of married World Cup players *but* we can still daydream about playing a little touch soccer with him. Or maybe footsies? Dream until your dreams come true, people!

20. Nicolás Tagliafico: Argentina

CREDIT: tagliafico3 / Instagram

This 25-year-old has been named “the new Javier Zanetti,” but you can just call him your new crush. Why so serious Nicolás? You just probably received hundreds of new stans!

Which soccer player is your favorite on this roster? Let us know in the comments! Please share your World Cup moments using #WorldCup2018 #ShowUsYourColors.

There Is Still A Lot Of Mystery About The First-Ever Latino To Play In The MLB

Entertainment

There Is Still A Lot Of Mystery About The First-Ever Latino To Play In The MLB

Public Domain

When it comes to crossing racial barriers in baseball, Jackie Robinson is the first name that comes to mind for many. However, before there was Robinson, there was Luis “Lou” Manuel Castro, the first Latino player in baseball’s modern era and the first to play in Major League Baseball. While his name might not be in the same regard or even known to many like Robinson, Castro earned the important distinction.

But unlike Robinson, Castro’s playing career was short, only lasting 42 games for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1902 season where he batted for a .245 average. This might be why Castro isn’t as highly regarded or well known as the baseball Hall of Famer who broke baseball’s color line in 1947.

There might be another reason the name Lou Castro isn’t a household name. There are conflicting reports on where he was actually born.

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

There is some mystery when it comes to the legacy of Castro that many point to where he was really born. There are some reports that say Castro listed New York City as his birthplace later in his place but it’s widely agreed that he was born in 1876 in Medellin, Colombia. Castro would only stay in Colombia for eight years as his family and he would move to the U.S. due to the country’s political instability during that period. Castro’s family traveled by boat to the U.S. where they arrived in New York. 

According to Nick Martinez, a baseball historian who studied Castro’s life, a list of passengers he researched shows that an 8-year-old Castro was indeed on the S.S. Colon, which arrived in New York City on October 16, 1885, supporting the case that he did arrive from Colombia.

During his teen years, Castro would pick up baseball and by the age of 17 years old, he joined the Manhattan College baseball team. He was known to have quite the sense of humor among teammates and garnered the nickname “Judge.” He’d continue his playing career across multiple minor league clubs before getting his big break at the major leagues. Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack got a good look at Castro and offered him a try-out that resulted in him joining the Philadelphia Athletics.

While his run as a major league player was short with the Athletics, Castro still made enough of an impact to say he contributed to the club clinching the 1902 American League pennant. According to Remezcla, the rookie was invited to be a part of the team’s year-end banquet where gave an acceptance speech on behalf of some fellow teammate. The celebration even resulted in him singing some songs in Spanish. 

There is also the highly debated theory that Castro was somehow related to Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro. 

Credit: Public Domain

The theories don’t just stop with this birthplace, Castro has been linked to being related to Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro. He has both claimed and denied being related to the infamous dictator. It was known that Castro frequently claimed to have been either the nephew or cousin (or even son) of Castro, who had prior family and business connections back in Castro’s home country of Colombia. 

The legacy of Lou Castro might be a bit complicated but he led the way for other Latino ballplayers to break into the big leagues. 

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

While his playing days were short, Castro’s baseball life continued as he became the first Latino to “manage a club in Organized Baseball” after he retired as a player. Castro would eventually die in New York at the age of 64 on Sept. 24, 1941. 

While Castro’s career didn’t immediately lead to a burst of Latin players making their way to the big leagues, it would be another decade before Latino players started to make an impact on the field, he still paved a way for many Latinos to follow. 

Iconic Latin stars like Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants respectively, would rise to fame in the late ’50s. In 2018, the number of Latino MLB players hit 31.9 percent, the highest in 20 years. The number is a testament to the ever-growing popularity of the game in Latin countries and the door that Castro opened back in 1902.  

While his story might not be as well know as other baseball players, Lou Castro does have his place in history. 

Specifically, Latino history. 

READ: This Victory Makes Christian Villanueva The Fifth Mexican Baseball Player In MLB Ever To Hit Three Home Runs In A Single Game

This Team Of Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome Were Denied Access To A Pool For Fear Of Contaminating Other Swimmers

Entertainment

This Team Of Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome Were Denied Access To A Pool For Fear Of Contaminating Other Swimmers

sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Sirenas Especiales (Special Mermaids) is giving girls with Down Syndrome in Mexico a chance to show off their athletic abilities in synchronized swimming. The team and program were organized by Paloma Torres, a former synchronized swimmer from Peru, after she studied educational psychology. Her thesis was on the cognitive benefits of synchronized swimming. With that and a little patience, Sirenas Especiales was born.

Sirenas Especiales is tearing down the stigma and misinformation about people with Down Syndrome.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Coach Paloma Torres knew that people with Down Syndrome are often very creative and flexible. Those two characteristics are perfect for synchronized swimming so she knew that it would be a great idea to get a group of girls together.

However, Torres and Sirenas Especiales immediately faced pushback from local pools in Mexico City because of the girls’ Down Syndrome.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

“I had to find a swimming pool where we could organize regular practices. At first, I couldn’t find anywhere. One pool even refused entry to my swimmers, saying that they might contaminate other swimmers! It was really disheartening at first — both for me and for the girls’ parents,” Torres told France24. “Finally, I found the Alberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez pool, which is located in southern Mexico City. I’ve been training the group there since 2011.”

The team overcame the initial mistreatment from local pools and have been competing in national and international competitions.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Their Instagram is filled with photos of the team holding medal from the various competitions they have participated in. They’ve competed all over Mexico and were recently at the PanAm games to cheer on Mexico’s national synchronizing team.

The team continues to grow with more girls and boys wanting to participate in synchronized swimming.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Torres currently trains about 20 swimmers between 14 and 30. There are three boys who are part of the team and 17 girls, according to France24. It seems clear that the swimmers enjoy their chance to show off their own athletic abilities.

The sport is doing more than just giving them something to do.

Este día tan especial Sirenas Especiales darán entrevista en Capital 21 Canal 21 en TV abierta, no se lo pierdan a las 10:35am en VIVO!!!!! FELIZ DÍA MUNDIAL DEL SINDROME DE DOWN Edith Perez Rocio Hernández Martínez Paloma Torres Montserrat Vega Triny Turcio Blanca Olivia Fontes Machado Araceli Vazquez Loredo Beatriz Mendoza Castañón China Li Lourdes Castellanos Daniel Perez Martinez

Posted by Sirenas Especiales on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This sport helps participants improve their concentration and memory,” Torres told France24. “However, most importantly, this activity helps them integrate socially. They participate regularly in competitions both nationally and internationally, which sometimes include swimmers without disabilities. Our team has won about 50 medals. They become more social and their work is applauded. It’s also important for their families because some of them don’t think that these girls will make something of their lives.”

One thing Sirenas Especiales is doing to changing the narrative around disabilities one synchronized swim at a time.

Credit: Sirenas Especiales / Facebook

The swimmers are showing everyone that you can do anything you set your mind to. There is nothing that can keep them from participating in the sport that they love and enjoy.

Congratulations, swimmers.

We can’t wait to see what you do next.

READ: The Internet Was Having A Collective Sob Fest After A Video Of Young Disabled Man’s Reaction To Getting His First Job Goes Viral