Latino Heritage Month celebrations ended in spectacular fashion here at Loras College with the first ever Latino Heritage Night held at the Rock Bowl Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 6, as both men’s and women’s soccer teams took on the Norse of Luther College. The event was made possible through the collaborations of Sergio Perez, Director of Intercultural programs, Jimmy Naprstek, Marketing Director of Athletic Communications, Dan Rothert, Loras Men’s Soccer’s Head Coach, and Denise Udelhofen Director of Athletics.
Latino Heritage Night was an idea developed throughout the years by the aforementioned individuals, and with the increase in Hispanic student-athletes on the Loras soccer teams in the last two years, it was the perfect time to turn the idea into a reality. Perez, with the help of many students involved in the intercultural programs office, spent several weeks developing ideas on how to make it a special night, and it came with no surprise that the event was much anticipated.
According to Perez, “[We] all hoped it would be a moment that the Loras community could come together and celebrate Latino Heritage Month, but more importantly to highlight and show representation for our Duhawks with Latino Heritage!”
Latino flags were displayed both on the sidelines and on the bleachers before the start of the women’s varsity match, and Latino music was played on the throughout the night. Vuvuzelas, “Somos Duhawks” t-shirts, and “El Paisano” chicken and steak tacos were given to fans in attendance. It was also a historic night for the Duhawk Broadcast Network, as the men’s varsity match was called in Spanish, making it the first ever Spanish broadcast in Loras history! I had the privilege to be a part of the broadcast, along with Jorge “The Rocket” Ramirez, a fellow Duhawk with Colombian heritage.
Both the women and men’s soccer teams won their matches, making the night an overall success. It was also fitting that first-year Manny Lopez, a Duhawk with Mexican Heritage, scored both goals in Loras’ 2-0 win. The hope is to build on this night’s success, and continue finding ways to bridge the Loras community with Latino Heritage.
“This was our first Latino Heritage Night! It’s only going to get bigger and better as the years go on!” Perez states.