With the growing Hispanic population in the United States, media outlets, corporations and even presidential candidates are being forced to consider the concerns and wants of this demographic. The Silver Knights, Syracuse’s professional indoor men’s soccer team has also set its sights on the Hispanic community in an effort to develop a larger fan base.
In order to accomplish this, the Knights team is enlisting the assistance of their Spanish-speaking players in the hopes that increased communication will result in increased popularity. One of these players is recent sign, Bryan Perez. The young midfielder says he is eager to contribute to these efforts along with teammate Nelson Santana. Each hopes to spread their passion for soccer within the Hispanic community. Santana believes the Knights should continue to “reach out to kids because they’re the ones who are playing (soccer) and then try to get the parents to bring them to the game.” Perez agrees with this and adds, “hopefully we go to restaurants and businesses that Hispanics (own) so we can reach out and tell them about us, that we’re Hispanics and to support us.”
Perez believes focusing on the Hispanic community is especially important because of the role that soccer plays within Hispanic culture. “It runs through the blood, that soccer passion has been always there.”
Perez, who just arrived in Syracuse yesterday, is originally from Costa Rica, where soccer is practically the national pastime. Although soccer is not as big here, he says, “with Hispanics growing…I think soccer is going to grow as well.”
While Perez is bilingual and fluently speaks English and Spanish, he says he hopes fans will realize that soccer is a form of communication that transcends language barriers. Thus, while many of the players on the team hail from all around the world, they are able to speak through their passion for soccer. A passion, he hopes fans will soon feel.