COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew are hosting “Latino Celebration Night” on Wednesday, Sept. 20 when the Club faces Chicago FC at Lower.com Field [7:30 p.m. ET / MLS Season Pass on Apple TV / 97.1 The Fan (English); La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)]. The match features are designed to recognize and embrace Latino heritage and culture in Columbus and beyond through music, food and more during Hispanic Heritage Month.
The Black & Gold’s First Team includes five players of Latin descent – Forward Cucho Hernández (Colombia), Defender Jimmy Medranda (Colombia), Forward Christian Ramirez (mother and father from Colombia), Forward Diego Rossi(Uruguay) and Defender Gustavo Vallecilla (Ecuador). Throughout the match and month, the Club will highlight their personal stories and connections to the Latin community.
“It’s an honor to play on a night during which Hispanic heritage will be celebrated. Representing my Hispanic roots on the pitch means everything to me, and to play for a Club that brings many different cultures together, it means the world – I wouldn’t change it for anything,” said Ramirez. “I hope Crew fans take the chance to celebrate and enjoy the many things going on around Lower.com Field on Latino Celebration Night.
“To play for a Club that recognizes its Hispanic fans means a lot,” Ramirez added. “Not only speaking for myself – I am sure that my Latino teammates feel the same way – I am proud of all the work that the Crew does to take care of its Latino fans. This night will be special.”
“Latino Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and honor the many contributions of Latinos to our community and our nation,” said Columbus City Councilmember Lourdes Barroso de Padilla. “Soccer is a global sport and the impact of the game in Latin America is undeniable. We can't talk about soccer without acknowledging the immense contributions that Latinos have played in writing the history of soccer. The community that the Crew provides to soccer fans from all walks of life is unmatched and the sense of belonging, pride and inspiration that our youngest fans receive from watching players who look like them is invaluable."
Crew supporters can start the celebration at the Chase Plaza, where local Latin musicians will perform. In partnership with Music Columbus – an organization dedicated to building Columbus’ music infrastructure to contribute to the economic and cultural impact of the city – DJ Cale and Latin Fever All-Stars will conduct a two-hour set, taking the stage at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. DJ Cale’s expertise is Caribbean and Latin American music, spinning salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton, Latin pop, Latin dance, house and a touch of American Top 40 while Latin Fever All-Stars is an international group comprised of local talent from the Caribbean and Latin America.
On the pitch pre-match, the Crew will join MLS clubs in wearing warmup tops commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month, which will be available for purchase at the Crew Team Shop. Additionally, the Club collaborated with the Columbus Fashion Alliance and Ibeliz Guadalupe to design a custom supporter shirt featuring “No puedo evitar enamorarme del Crew [translation: I can’t help falling in love with Crew]” and images of the Ginger Thomas, a vibrant yellow sub-tropical plant found in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The National Anthem will be presented by Anabella Petronsi, a student of The Ohio State’s University Department of Music who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Musical Arts in vocal performance from The National University of the Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Pre-match ceremonies will emphasize Latin and Hispanic elements, supported by the Ohio Hispanic Coalition, Columbus City Council and La Mega.
Latin food offerings will be available at Lower.com Field as part of the festivities, including selections from Dos Hermanos, churro donuts, fruit cups with Tajin and Chamoy, empanadas with chimichurri sauce, elote, Cubano sandwiches, al pastor tacos and more.
The in-stadium presentation will incorporate graphics and public address announcements in Spanish, as well as additional items aligned with Latino Celebration Night.
On Thursday, Sept. 28, the Crew through the Stay in the Game! Network will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and Attendance Awareness Month with a clap-in at Siebert Elementary School, joined by Cucho and Ramirez. Approximately 30 percent of the students identify as Latino/Hispanic within the school. The Stay in the Game! Network’s mission is focused on promoting school attendance and student engagement with its partner districts in the state.
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