Hispanic Heritage Month: Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara proud of his cultural roots

Chara: "I believe that my culture has a very high influence on my style of play."

Diego Chara, Timbers vs. Dallas FC, 8.17.13

Photo Credit: 
Photo by David Blair

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15 to October 15 to honor the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanics living in the United States.  This month, we spoke to midfielder Diego Chara about his Hispanic Heritage.

What does your Hispanic heritage mean to you?
Diego Chara: Hispanic Heritage has an important significance to me now more than ever since I am getting to know a new culture. To me, being Hispanic means joy and hope, also of having dreams and trying to accomplish them.

How does your culture influence your style of play and contribution to the team?
DC:  I believe that my culture has a very high influence on my style of play. I think that in my style of play you can tell because of my determination to try to do things better every day, for never giving up, a cheerful style of play, always smiling and trying to give my best.

How do you stay connected to your Hispanic culture here in Portland?
DC:  To stay connected to my Hispanic culture here in Portland, I have a lot of friends who are also Hispanic and we share a lot of things from our countries as some of them are from countries close to mine. We always try to have good relationships and spend time with our families. I believe that is the best way to feel at home.

Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month?
DC:  It is important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. First, because I am Hispanic and I am very proud of that and second because I know that there are a lot of Hispanics in the U.S. who will enjoy this month. I hope that they all have a great time with family which is the most important.

What has been the most difficult thing living so far away from your culture?
DC:  The most difficult part about living far from my culture is at times the food, but first and foremost my family. I really miss my parents and my brothers, but I do believe that this is a beautiful experience for me to grow as a person and professionally.

Have you adopted any new traditions here in Portland?
DC:  The new tradition I have adopted in Portland is Thanksgiving which is not known in Colombia. Here it is very important. I am proud to tell people in my country the ways of celebrating this day. That is one of the new traditions I have adopted and I am very happy that my family and myself have tried to adopt it the best way possible.

Would you recommend other Hispanic players to play in the MLS?
DC:  I would recommend to other Hispanics to come to the U.S. and play in the MLS because it is taking an important turn when it comes to professionalism and the growth of the league. Whenever I have the opportunity, I always say how much the league has grown.