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Triangle Hispanics Find A Soccer Field Of Dreams

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RALEIGH — Hispanic immigrants have called North Carolina home for years. But untilrecently, 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 gettingbetter. Everything's getting better for everybody," Ramirez says.

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

"I thought it would be great if we could have the Hispanic League here," says La Ligaorganizer TimWallace.

Wallace helped broker the deal after he saw the small, rocky, dirt-covered fieldsthe 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 chancethey give us because this is abeautiful park. It's something nice. This is a great country," he says.

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

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


Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Julian King, Web Editor

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