Daniel Raya- Ruiz is a 14 year old football player, his passion and dedication to the sport is slowly changing the stereotype that Latinos only play Fútbol (soccer) and not Football.
What his father, Davis Ruiz, started as an activity to keep his son busy and out of trouble; quickly became the sport of Daniel’s dreams.
“I started playing since I was 7 years old… ever since then I just fell in love with the sport,” says Raya- Ruiz. “At first I was really skinny and the other players were bigger than me, I was scared of getting hit. I am not scared anymore.”
At his young age and through the sport Ruiz-Raya has learned the meaning of discipline, responsibility and dedication.
He recently played in an “All Star Game” between the north and south divisions, where he scored the winning touchdown. Thanks to his skills he was also recently awarded a scholarship to attend a private Christian high school in Stockton.
“When I am in the field I feel free. At the games you hear people screaming and chanting for the team but I don’t hear the crowd’s cheers all I hear is the sound of players running.”
Ruiz-Raya was also selected to attend a summer football combine in Las Vegas; camp designed to test players speed and strength and often used by universities to identify players.
“There are few other Latinos in my team, but looking in the NLF there is not a lot of Latinos out there. I will like to set records in the NFL, be in the hall of fame one day; show that we can get somewhere as a race. Everyone can play; it just depends on how hard you want to push yourself.”
“Some of the grass is dirt is not grass and is kind of hard when you get scrapes and burns,”says Ruiz-Raya as he describe the fields where he has often practiced, “In the future I will like to give back to the neighborhoods where he grew up.”
Ruiz- Raya advice to the younger kids is to always pursue their goals.
“My biggest dream is to get to the NFL and I am pushing myself very hard to get there, that`s what I want to show my little brother.
If you will like to support Ruiz-Raya attend his summer football camp you may contact Davis Ruiz at (209) 229-0735.