Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual recognition of the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans and the role they have played in shaping and molding the United States of America into what it is today.
Unlike other celebratory months, Hispanic Heritage Month begins mid-September as a nod to the anniversaries of several Spanish-speaking countries and their quest for independence.The observance takes place each year beginning on September 15 and continuing for 30 consecutive days until October 15.
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua all won independence on September 15, Mexico gained its independence on September 16 and Chile became independent on September 18.
The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month originated in 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the first Hispanic Heritage Week which took place the week of September 15. This tradition remained until President Ronald Reagan expanded it to include the entire month.
As of 2020, 62.1 million citizens claim to have Hispanic or Latino roots, making up over 18 percent of the United States population, up 23 percent from 2010, making them the fastest-growing group in the country.
Utah is home to over 490,000 Hispanic and Latinx Utahns making them the second largest ethinic group by population in the state. With the state of Utah once being a part of Mexico, the Hispanic connections run deep in our history and our future.
Within the Real Salt Lake organization, eight Hispanic nationalities are represented through players, coaches, and staff.
Currently, the two head coaches of the professional teams are both Hispanic, with Head Coach of Real Salt Lake Pablo Mastroeni hailing from Argentina and Real Monarchs Head Coach Jamison Olave born in Colombia. RSL Goalkeeper Coach Ignacio “Nacho” Hernandez is from Mexico.
Players of Hispanic descent make up nearly 36 percent of the Real Salt Lake roster, representing eight different countries, including Argentina (Pablo Ruiz), Costa Rica (Bryan Oviedo), Cuba (Maikel Chang), Ecuador (Anderson Julio), Mexico (Julio Benitez, Tomas Gomez and Jaziel Orozco), Paraguay (Braian Ojeda), Uruguay (Marcelo Silva) and Venezuela (Sergio Cordova and Jefferson Savarino).
Meanwhile, Benjamin Rodriguez from Real Monarchs was born in Uruguay, and Fernando Delgado and Luis Rivera have ties to Mexico.
RSL Academy players are heavily Mexican American, with nearly half coming from Hispanic households.
Additionally, the front office is similarly representative of the Hispanic American landscape, with employees who have lineage to Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Peru.
Real Salt Lake’s Hispanic Heritage Night, much like the purpose of the country’s Hispanic Heritage Month, will serve to honor those from the Hispanic community and recognize their contributions to help create the Club into what it is today.