I am the son of immigrants. My parents hail from Paraguay, a small but proud South American nation. Therefore, since I was old enough to crawl I always had a soccer ball (or football) in my reach.
I had dreams of one day playing professional soccer and maybe even taking the pitch for either the United States or Paraguay national teams. However, a lack of pure talent and frequent injuries put an end to that. However, my love for the beautiful game never waned.
I keep up with almost every major European league and tournament, Major League Soccer (MLS), and South America’s premier tournaments. My first favorite team was Cerro Porteño, the local Paraguayan club my parents support. That love grew towards my hometown MLS team the New York Red Bulls and several European clubs including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Borussia Dortmund.
Most of the matches and sports programming I watched was primarily in Spanish. This not only contributed to my proficiency in Spanish, but also opened the door to other sports personalities outside of usual American broadcasts.
One pundit in particular stood out to me: Jorge Ramos. No, he is not the former Telemundo news anchor. The native Uruguayan is most known for his program on ESPN Deportes Jorge Ramos y su Banda, which translates to Jorge Ramos and his crew. There he and other pundits and former players discuss and debate, often times aggressively, over news and hot topics in the soccer world.
Over his 30 year career, Ramos has served as play-by-play commentator for over 3,000 soccer matches, including 1,400 Mexican Soccer League games. He has covered four FIFA World Cups, the 2003 Women’s World Cup, two Copa Américas and several UEFA European Championships.
He has been my role model as a sports journalist for a long time. I feel we need more personalities like him in the American soccer world in order to help the game progress and thrive in this country with English speaking fans and viewers.
Ultimately, I want to be a part, maybe even a crucial component of soccer’s growth here in the United States. I want to be able to share my passion and knowledge for the game to as wide of an audience as possible.