On June 19, Yimmi and Diego Chara will spend their Father’s Day together, something the two dads don’t take for granted after several years apart.
They have a relatively casual Sunday planned, especially considering their game against the LA Galaxy in Carson, California, the previous afternoon. Right now, the plan is to coach their Chara Brothers Soccer Camp together and spend the rest of the day with family.
Diego Chara has four kids – two daughters and a pair of young, twin boys – while Yimmi has a daughter and son. For years the two families, along with the family of their brother Luis Felipe, lived thousands of miles apart – Diego in Portland and Yimmi in South and Central America.
With Yimmi Chara’s transfer to the Timbers and subsequent move to Portland in Jan. 2020, their families have been able to spend more time together and their kids often play together on the weekends. Ahead of Father’s Day, Diego and Yimmi Chara talked about being dads, shared a few of their favorite memories and discussed how their own father influenced them.
One thing on both brother’s agenda this Sunday is to call their own dad, Jesús Chara, currently back home in Colombia. While now fathers themselves, they always make a point of talking to the man who raised them to reminisce and thank him for everything he has done in their lives.
“When we were kids, myself, Yimmí and [Luis Felipe], we would play soccer at home,” Diego said. “For me, in that moment, it was very special. We would keep the ball, foul one another and laugh for a bit.”
Added Yimmi: “I remember a lot about when we would play games with our teams. We would go on a road trip to play a game and then we would have time to enjoy there, we would go to the pool and things like that. The day would always end with a game with our parents. Those were moments we enjoyed so much.”
Jesús Chara, who played soccer in Colombia’s third division, made sure his sons were involved in as many activities as possible growing up. With all three taking to soccer, he wanted to ensure that they had fun playing the sport and never felt too much pressure.
“He’s someone who supports us unconditionally,” Yimmi said. “For us it was very important that he was there in all that we did as kids. He also played soccer, and while he didn’t play professionally, he understood all that we were doing and supported us.”
Those early memories of playing soccer together at home, as well as their father’s unwavering presence in their lives, shaped the Chara’s from a young age. Now with their own kids, they can't help but think about how they have mirrored their own parenting technique's after their father's.
“I think the value they taught us has been a very crucial base for us and I try to pass it to my kids,” Diego Chara said. “With technology now, it’s a little different than before, but I try to support my kids, make them do different activities, for me that’s amazing.”
Diego and Yimmi Chara say they’ve learned many things about being fathers over the years, but what has stuck with them most is the value of time. As professional soccer players, their schedules are filled with training sessions, recovery and weekend games all over the country. Between it all, they just want to spend any free time with their families.
“[I love] the time that I can share with my kids and the experience I have every day,” Yimmi said. “There’s something new to learn with them and it’s nice to wake up to them each morning.”
How do they use that free time? Both Charas enjoy taking their kids to the local park when they can, something their families did a lot over the recent international break. Diego also took advantage of the time off by taking his kids to see Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in theaters.
With four quickly growing kids, Diego has seen himself mature as a father as his children have gotten older. It wasn’t even five years ago that his daughters were young, and his twins weren’t yet born. Now, they’re all embracing their own activities.
“My daughters have been on an amazing path to follow,” Diego said. “One is doing gymnastics and the other is taking Tae Kwon Do. To see what they’re doing is amazing.”
He added: “The twins are also growing up quick. They’re almost four years old now attending daycare. For me it’s great to have that to learn with them, we do everything.”
Being reunited in the same city has its benefits for Diego and Yimmi on the field, but it has also allowed the two to see their kids grow up together, at least for a little bit. Yimmi, whose daughter and son are close in age to Diego's children, says most weekends they will get together at either of the brothers’ house to play together or even just nap.
“What I wanted was for them to live how [my brothers and I] lived, that we could play with our cousins and our family,” Yimmi said. “I love that they have had that here."
A few years ago, Diego and his family has opportunity to fly down to Colombia to celebrate Father’s Day and eat plenty of delicious Colombian food. While he really enjoyed being able to do that, it served as a reminder of just how difficult it is to get family together. Now, the brothers can celebrate the day together in Portland with their growing families.
So, on Sunday, they’ll coach the Chara Brothers Soccer Camp together before enjoying the rest of a relaxing day off with those they love. And, of course, they’ll be sure to call their own father.