Local News

Triangle Hispanics Find A Soccer Field Of Dreams

Posted April 29, 2001 6:22 a.m. EDT

— Hispanic immigrants have called North Carolina home for years. But until recently, they did not have a home field for their favorite past-time, soccer. Now, they have found one at the WRAL Soccer Center.

Bruno Ramirez and his teammates from Wendell play every Sunday morning.

"It used to be hard to find a place to play. But it's getting better. Everything's getting better for everybody," Ramirez says.

Ramirez' team and 19 others formed La Liga de Futbol, and they are renting fields from the Capitol Area Soccer League.

"I thought it would be great if we could have the Hispanic League here," says La Liga organizer Tim Wallace.

Wallace helped broker the deal after he saw the small, rocky, dirt-covered fields the Hispanic players had been using.

"They're not really suited to adults, and most parents wouldn't want to bring their kids to those fields," he says.

La Liga kicked off its first season on their new turf a few weeks ago. Twenty teams play on five fields every Sunday morning.

Ramirez says it is a whole new ballgame.

"It's beautiful. I think it's a nice chance they give us because this is a beautiful park. It's something nice. This is a great country," he says.

La Liga players say that soccer is very important in their native countries, and here is proof: Another 30 Spanish-speaking teams hope to use CASL's soccer fields next year. They will work with CASL during the off-season in hopes of expanding their relationship.

Members of La Liga and CASL will also form a committee which will try to get more Hispanic residents involved with soccer and the community.