Roberto Diaz – Chicago, Illinois

Roberto Diaz

“In December of 2013 while vacationing in Mexico, I was invited to represent the small ranch where my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had been born and raised in a 4-team soccer tournament, at an old Atlas FC Academy about an hour away. A couple of my friends had also been invited so I knew most of the team good, although there were some new faces in the mix as well. The drive to the tournament was full of excitement, introductions, and nerves. Once we arrived at the facility, we were amazed by trophies, newspaper clippings, and a framed signed picture front and center of the entrance; a young 14-year-old boy from Zamora, Michoacan- Rafa Marquez. Once we changed and started warming up, it dawned on me. As I looked around me, I saw teammates from Mexico, from California, from Texas, and from Illinois, all representing a small ranch of no more than 1,000 people. The same ranch our ancestors worked so hard to establish before risking it all to America to give us a better life! So for one day, I got to play on the same team that my grandfathers, father, uncles, and longtime family friends played for. As I looked up to the sky to pray before kick-off it all came full circle. Soccer to me means being able to carry on the traditions of playing, teaching, and watching this beautiful sport that my father passed on to me and that I will pass on to my children. It meant having my family name once again proudly announced as part of the team representing Rancho Nuevo, Michoacan, where my heart will always be.”

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