INDIANAPOLIS (Fox59) – American football continues to grow its Hispanic fan base, but a recent study found less than two percent of the NFL is made up of Latino players.
One of them is California native Rigoberto Sanchez who plays a key role for the Indianapolis Colts.
“I used to just literally wake up and just think about soccer and my dream growing up honestly was to play professional soccer,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez’s dream of being a pro athlete has come true — not in soccer but in the NFL.
“I always kind of knew that football was around, but I didn’t really get to play until sophomore year of high school,” said Sanchez.
He’s now a star punter for the Colts thanks in part to a huge family decision years ago.
“Both my parents are from Mexico,” Sanchez explained. “My mom is from Guanajuato. My dad is from Michoacan and they came to the United States. I feel like they did that for a better opportunity for their kids, for themselves.”
Sanchez has made the most of his opportunity and is now a proud role model for young Hispanics. A fact he came face-to-face with at a recent camp.
“They were really surprised that I was able to speak Spanish and honestly, it was really cool to see their faces when I was able to do it,” Sanchez remembered. “I was able to communicate with them in Spanish, just talk to them and be their friend. It’s awesome to be around all these Hispanic kids that have dreams to one day become professionals or doctors or whatever it is.”
The passion for American football has grown tremendously in Mexico and Sanchez is well aware there are many eyes on his career.
“Just being able to represent Hispanics and Mexicans, I think that’s really big. For them to see me in that uniform, it gets them all excited,” said Sanchez.