Meet the Latinas in the Philippines World Cup squad

The Fontanillas always dreamed that one day their daughter Kiara would play for Mexico or the USA at the World Cup. They never imagined that she would one day represent the Philippines where soccer is still a growing sport.

“Seeing her on the greatest stage in sport fills my heart with such joy, happiness and pride,” said her mother, Fabiola Fontanilla, who was born in Tijuana and whose family is from the Mexican states of Jalisco and Oaxaca. “It shows me that all the time, effort, heartache, football training, tournaments, bad days and good days have been totally worth it.”

“Her performance for this very proud moment in history not only recognizes her Filipino heritage but also her Mexican side,” Fontanilla told De Los.

Of the 23 World Cup players on the Philippines women’s national team, 18 were born in the United States, and Kiara Fontanilla – a goaltender from Eastvale in the Inland Empire – is one of them. At least two other players also have Latin American roots. It is the Philippines’ first World Cup and the team made history with their first win on Tuesday against hosts New Zealand. The team now meets Norway on Sunday.

The team has won the hearts of many and the players show courage, pride and love “for a country that is in their blood”. written down Henry Bushnell, Senior Football Reporter for Yahoo Sports. After the team’s 2-0 defeat by Switzerland in the group’s World Cup debut, head coach Alen Stajcic called He was proud of the team’s fighting spirit against players from Europe’s top leagues. The hashtag #LabanFilipinas has spread widely. super malls Watch parties are held all over the Philippines.

Fontanilla’s Filipino heritage comes from her father, Frank Fontanilla, who was born in Baguio City. His family has roots in La Union and Pangasinan.

in a (n Interview with Futbol Brew — a podcast about the Philippines women’s soccer team — Kiara recalled telling her father for the first time that she had made the national team. “His eyes shone,” she said.

Kiara said she had never seen her father cry until that moment. That day, she recalled that she and her father had seen two orange monarch butterflies, which she associated with her grandparents, “Lolo” and “Lola.”

“I think that’s when my dad started crying,” she told Futbol Brew.

Another Filipino World Cup player with Mexican roots is Quinley Quezadaa midfielder from Rosemead who graduated from UC Riverside.

Quezada, whose mother is Filipino and father is Mexican, tried out for the national team in California as a junior in college.

“Being part of the Filipino team made me feel really connected to my Filipino roots for the first time.” Quezada told Futbol Brew in an interview posted about a year ago.

Quezada said she was more connected to her Mexican side as her paternal grandmother helped take care of her. “I saw my Filipino grandparents here and there, but I wasn’t with them all the time,” she said.

Playing for the Philippines, she saw the connection between “where my mom came from and where she grew up,” she told Futbol Brew.

For Reina Bonta – whose mother is Puerto Rican and father is Filipino-American – playing for the Philippines means she will “get the jersey for my Lola, my father and the young girls who watch in the Philippines who will wear it next.” , carries wrote on Instagram.

Her father is California Atty. General Rob Bonta, who was born in Quezon City, Philippines and immigrated to California with his family when he was an infant.

Her mother is Rep. Mia Bonta (D-Alameda), who identifies as Black and Latina and her parents, she said the Sacramento Observer“arrived from Ghana, from West Africa, on Spanish slave ships and were deposited at one of their first stops before reaching the US mainland, the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.”

Mia Bonta described her daughter as a “Renaissance woman” who “worked really hard” and “had to go through a lot of combines to be considered.”

“I think for her and for our family, it shows what it means for the ‘first of’.” She told Fox KTVU.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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