What is your name and home field location?
Humberto Cruz Guadarrama. We don’t have a home field, but we were given an opportunity to play and have our practices in New Jersey. So the guys go out and practice on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on that field.
What is your connection to Mexico?
I work with the Mexican Consulate here. My position here is Coordinator of the Institute of Mexicans out of their Country, Communities Department. Our involvement with the Mexican community is very important because this not only includes the education part but also socialization and health. We address, in this case, supporting health and sport. This more than anything was my interest in connecting with the Unity Cup, so that I could help the Mexican community to get organized and form a team to represent Mexico.
What made you interested in participating in the Unity Cup?
I believe that what interested me the most was that the city wanted to do this for the minority groups. I feel that recognizing the vast diversity which exists in this city is very important. The fact that the city recognizes these contributions of the minority groups, refugees, or immigrants, this means a great deal to us because this means that the city is aware that this community is important for many other things. Using sports to unite and the theme of the Unity Cup, I think, is a great message to unite all people.
How did your team come together?
We made several announcements. What we wanted to do was invite all the captains or coaches of various leagues of this city, and we put this invitation on all our social networks so that the community would register as representative of a Mexican team. We spread the invitations and held three tryouts. We had two experts at these tryouts to look at the capacity of each player and based on that there was a selection of players. The captain is a young man that studied sports at Temple University. On behalf of him and Rafael, who is the president at the Mexican Cultural Center, they have been managing the coaching of the Mexican team.
What does soccer mean to your community?
I think that it is the main sport or the most popular sport that exists for our country. It is the sport that is most played and it’s a language, it’s another world for us. It is something that fills people with spirit. It touches them, fills them with emotion, it inspires, moves hearts. Soccer does so many things. It unites families, it unites friends, and all this is important.
Why is soccer important to you personally?
Well, I like all sports but soccer is a sport that I like a lot because of the ball. I like to play. It is a sport that is very social. I am not an expert in soccer, but I enjoy participating a lot.
How has soccer made your life better?
I don’t play soccer, but it definitely has changed taking up a sport in life. It is important that people have physical activity in their lives. I think that inviting people to play sports in general is important. When you support sports, you support good health. It leads to a healthy lifestyle, to have a better quality of life.
Why do you think soccer is so popular around the world?
I think because it is a sport that doesn’t have so many rules like other sports. All you need in this sport is a ball. You don’t need so much information that will overwhelm the players. It is a quick sport. It is a healthy sport. The ease to play anywhere makes it optimum for everyone to enjoy.
How do you think soccer in general (and the Unity Cup in particular) promotes inclusivity?
There are many reasons why I think the Unity Cup and soccer are important among the minorities because they unite countries in one party, and the party is a sport. Not only that, but it also celebrates cultural diversity that may exist in this city.
What places (such as restaurants or cultural centers) or groups in Philadelphia would you recommend to someone if they wanted to learn more about Mexican culture?
We have the Mexican Cultural Center, where we have a variety of activities going on daily here at the Bourse Building. For the most part though, if you want to learn more about Mexico, come to the consulate. Learn about the different services we have available. We not only provide a cultural experience, but we also manage everything that has to do with serving the Mexican community, and what better place to learn about our Mexico? We have presentations, which include cultural and community programs.
As the person in charge of the community programs, I have upcoming events for the city for Hispanic Heritage Month. We participate for the community, we participate at the public library and we have events. On September 18 we have an event, a night out with literature. We will be discussing Octavo Paz and Carlos Fuentes. On September 20, we have a drawing contest. It is called “This Is My Mexico.” It is a contest that is held yearly and is promoted by the Secretary of Exterior Relations of Mexico. The winners are children between the ages of 6 and 14. The winning drawing will be traveling all around the worlds’ embassies. They are recognized. A calendar is made each year, and it is given to the children in recognition. This year the theme is the monarch butterfly, its migration and its analogy that exists with the migration. It’s about a monarch butterfly that flies from Mexico to Canada. We teach it to the children at the public library. These are activities to learn more about Mexico through our services and programs.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about Mexico?
They are people that are very passionate and committed. Although they may not be experts or high-level professionals in soccer, they are people that leave their everyday duties, jobs, and time with their families to come and practice soccer. They are very responsible and dedicated to their team, with us as well as with Mexico. They keep this in mind and this is what I like. We are not the super stars but we will have a good standing and have great participation.