Viviana Villacorta: The First Latina Player Drafted in the 2021 NWSL College Draft

Viviana Villacorta is beaming with Pride

The Orlando Pride have selected the 21-year-old UCLA midfielder as the No. 9 pick in the first round of the 2021 NWSL College Draft. She’s the first Latina selected in this year’s draft.

Viviana Villacorta

Villacorta played in every match during her three-year tenure with UCLA, scoring seven goals and adding 16 assists during 71 total appearances with the Bruins. A California native, Villacorta is an efficient passer through the midfield whose extensive college experience could help her transition immediately into a role with the Pride.

It was the first draft pick for general manager Ian Fleming and executive vice president Amanda Duffy during their tenure with the Pride.

Villacorta will join a midfield unit that’s been a focal point for the Pride throughout the offseason. After strengthening the team’s backline depth in 2020, coach Marc Skinner focused on bringing in players who could increase the team’s on-ball possession to allow the Pride to command the tempo of matches.

The Pride will begin preseason training in Orlando on February 1, with the 2021 Challenge Cup slated to begin in mid-April.

Villacorta was coached at UCLA by Amanda Cromwell, a former U.S. women’s national team standout who coached at UCF in Orlando from 1999-2013.

Steven Canals Developing Drama Series “In The End” for ABC

It’s the beginning of The End for Steven Canals

ABC has put in development In The End, a drama from the 39-year-old Afro-Puerto Rican screenwriter, producer and Pose co-creator and his Story Ave. Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television, where Canals is under a deal.

Written and executive produced by Canals, the project centers on Kiona Brown, who, incapable of living life to the fullest, makes the only logical choice – to embrace death as an end-of-life doula. With an eclectic list of patients – including cancer survivor Mariana Cortez – Kiona soon discovers the secret to a new beginning is to embrace what happens…in the end.

Steven-Canals


In The End 
is among the first projects for Canals under his overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television.

Canals co-created and executive produces the Emmy– and Golden Globe-nominated and Peabody Award-winning drama series Pose, named one of the Best TV Programs of the Year by the American Film Institute in 2018 and 2019. It will return for a third season in 2020.

A 2015 graduate of UCLA’s MFA Screenwriting program, Canals began his journey as a storyteller in high school, producing the documentary short Turf Violence: What’s It All About?co-funded by HBO Family. He went on to earn a BA in Cinema, and a Masters in Student Affairs & Diversity from Binghamton University. While attending UCLA, Canals served as a Research Assistant at Hungry Jackal Productions. In 2016 Canals was a staff writer on Freeform’s Dead of Summer, the same year his short film, Afuera, premiered at the LA Film Festival.

He made his TV directorial debut with the eighth episode of the second season ofPose titled “Revelations.”

Carolina Rivera Signs Deals with Verve and Netflix

Carolina Rivera has a new deal…

The Mexican screenwriter and producer has signed with Verve and entered an overall deal at Netflix.

Carolina Rivera

Under the Netflix agreement, Rivera will serve as the executive producer of the television series Madre Solo Hay Dos, which she created.

Rivera is the co-executive producer of the CW’s sci-fi drama Roswell: New Mexicowhich recently wrapped. 

She also worked on Jane the Virgin

Marc Cherry’s production company purchased Rivera’s “Ellas son… la alegría del hogar,”which was originally created for Televisa. The series was the basis for Cherry’s Lifetime series Devious Maids, starring Roselyn Sanchez.

Rivera studied screenwriting at the UCLA Extension Writers Program and wrote her first feature Cilantro y Perejil, which went on to win three Ariel Awards— Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscars— for Best Original ScreenplayBest Story and Best Original SongCilantro y Perejil made history in the Mexican film industry as the first Mexican title to be screened at commercial movie theaters throughout the country.

Her writing credits include more than 15 feature films. In 2005, Rivera received the Motion Picture Association Award for Best Hispanic Screenplay for her screenplay Enemigos Íntimos.

In addition, she worked as head writer for the serial telenovela Lucho en Familia and worked on Amor Cautivo. She headed the children’s television development team at Channel 11, Latin America’s largest public television network. While there, she created and served as head writer for Bizbirije and El Divan de Valentina.She has also served as an International Emmy AwardsJuror for Dramatic Series and TV movies.

Frankie Amaya Scores First Career Goal in FC Cincinnati Win Over Atlanta United

It’s a Major League Soccer first for Frankie Amaya

The 19-year-old Mexican American soccer player scored his first career goal in the 76th minute, and FC Cincinnati took advantage of nine-man Atlanta United team to pull off a stunning 1-0 victory Thursday in the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando.

Frankie Amaya

The win was the first of the season for Cincinnati (1-0-3, 3 points), and an even bigger upset within Group E at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Cincinnati lost its opener 4-0 to rival Columbus, but prevailed thanks to an undisciplined Atlanta side that finished the match with nine men.

Amaya showed his strength and accuracy with a bending strike from just outside the center of the box, beating an outstretched Brad Guzan into the far-left corner for the game’s lone goal.

For Atlanta (2-0-2, four points), the loss could be a crushing blow to its hopes of reaching the knockout round. Playing without injured star Josef Martinez (torn ACL), Atlanta opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

This marked the first time in club history that Atlanta has failed to score in back-to-back regular-season MLS contests. It obviously did not help that they played most of the match a man down.

Atlanta went down to 10 men when midfielder Jake Mulraney was sent off in the 26th minute for a pressing foul that also happened to be his second yellow card of the match. However, Atlanta’s Pity Martinez had a point-blank chance late in the first half, but Cincinnati keeper Przemyslaw Tyton was up to the task.

It appeared Martinez was set for a penalty shot in the final seconds of the first half after being fouled deep in the box. However, a VAR check ruled he was offside before the infraction.

Cincinnati eventually stepped up the pressure. When Adrien Regattin found Amaya amid some traffic, the talented youngster drilled his left-footed attempt into the goal, and enough for FCC to record its first league victory since Sept. 14.

Atlanta dropped to nine men when JJ Williams was slapped with a red card late in stoppage time.

Amaya was the first overall draft pick of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, and the first first-overall pick to be born in the 2000s. Amaya played one year of college soccer for UCLA and prior to UCLA, played club soccer with Pateadores SC, a premier youth club in Southern California.

Carlos Santana to Give Keynote Address at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA’s Commencement Ceremony

Carlos Santana is preppin’ for a supernatural graduation…

The 72-year-old Mexican Grammy-winning guitarist and entrepreneur will be the featured speaker for the 2020 commencement ceremony at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLAon June 19. 

Carlos Santana

In a statement about the event, the school’s inaugural dean, Eileen L. Stempel, said that Santana’s “inclusive global sound and commitment to social justice are emblematic of our school’s core values,” adding, “I am deeply moved by his desire to share words of inspiration and encouragement with our graduates during this important time.”

“I feel honored to be speaking to young musicians and a new generation of music scholars,” said the Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in a statement. “The class of 2020 is resilient and their voices are needed now more than ever. I want them to use their music as a platform to empower and unite as we seek justice and creative solutions during these challenging times.”

The 2020 commencement will take place online on June 19 at 4:00 p.m. PDT; it will also include music and remarks by graduating students and a performance by the Herbie Hancock Institute for Jazz Performance at UCLA.

This year’s graduating class at the school will feature 130 graduates from the departments of ethnomusicology, global jazz studies, music, music industry and musicology.

Gina Torres to Take Part in Benefit Concert for the National Immigration Law Center

Gina Torres is giving back to the immigrant community…

The 50-year-old Afro-Cuban American actress and Pearson star will participate in a concert being live-streamed Saturday to benefit low-income migrants.

Gina Torres

The show will also feature Marcia CrossGrant GustinCheyenne JacksonRachel Bay JonesMelissa ManchesterEric McCormackCaroline RheaLiz Callaway,Yuri SardarovDancing with the Stars pros Pasha Pashkov and Daniella KaragachMelissa Benoist and Chris Wood.

Performers include Jane LynchWayne Bradyand Laurie Metcalf.

The concert is set for 9:00 pm EDT at UCLA’s Royce Hall. It’ll be broadcast via Facebook Liveand at ConcertsforAmerica.com. Proceeds will benefit the National Immigration Law Center.

It’s the latest in a series of benefits created and hosted by Seth Rudetskyand James Wesley, the host and producer of Sirius XM’s “On Broadway” show.

Gonzalez Breaks NCAA Record for Career Field Goals

Zane Gonzalez has kicked his way into the annals of college football history…

The Latino kicker for Arizona State University is the new NCAA record holder for field goals in a career.

Zane Gonzalez

Gonzalez hit from 35, 23 and 46 yards in Saturday night’s 23-20 win over UCLA to reach 89 career field goals, passing Florida State‘s Dustin Hopkins, who had 88 from 2009-12.

“Honestly it hasn’t really set in yet,” Gonzalez said afterwards, flanked by holder Matt Haack and snapper Mitchell Fraboni. “Any time you hold a national record it just speaks volumes. It’s a good way to go out senior year.”

The Sun Devils needed all of those 3-point tries after sputtering offensively in the first half and watching backup quarterback Brady White limp off with a right leg injury in the fourth quarter.

In Gonzalez’s career, he has connected on 89 of 111 attempts (80.2 percent).

“You’re talking about a monumental accomplishment there,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said of Gonzalez. “I’m proud of Zane. That’s huge.”

He broke former UCLA kicker Kai Forbath‘s Pac-12 record (85) last week.

Bufoni to Appear at the 2016 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards

Leticia Bufoni is ready to Kid around…

The 23-year-old Brazilian professional street skateboarder is among several top athletes who’ve signed on to take part in the 2016 Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.

Leticia Bufoni

Bufoni, who became the only female athlete to win three X Games gold medals in the same year back in 2013, is nominated in the Queen of Swag category.

In addition to Bufoni, other top athletes set to participate include Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

In addition, Nickelodeon has lined up Nick Cannon, along with several other top athletes, to hit the stage at UCLA‘s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Also taking part are Curry’s Warriors teammate Klay Thompson and fellow NBA pro Iman Shumper (Cleveland Cavaliers); NFL players Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Von Miller (Denver Broncos); MLB player Prince Fielder (Texas Rangers); NHL player Tyler Toffoli (Los Angeles Kings); Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza (American Pharoah); professional snowboarder Jamie Anderson; and professional skateboarder Tony Hawk.

The awards show is set to tape Thursday and will air from 8:00-9:30 pm ET/PT on July 17.

Seattle Seahawks two-time Super Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson will return as host, and retired NBA star Kobe Bryant is set to receive the Legend Award.

Perez Nominated for Kids’ Choice Sports Awards

Salvador Perez has a golden glove… But does he have golden hands? 

The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball catcher for the Kansas City Royals has earned a nomination for this year’s Kids’ Choice Sports Awards.

Salvador Perez

Perez, a four-time MLB All-Star, three-time Gold Glove Award winner and the World Series Most Valuable Player in 2015, is nominated in the Hands of Gold category.

But Perez isn’t the only Latino athlete nominated…

Soccer star Lionel Messi is nominated in the Sickest Moves category.

Meanwhile, professional skateboarder Leticia Bufoni is nominated in the Queen of Swag category.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will take the stage at UCLA‘s Pauley Pavilion to host the Kids’ Choice Sports Awards on Sunday, July 17.

Fans can vote for their favorite sports star through the use of online voting on both Nick.com and the Nick app starting Monday, May 23.

Tune in on July 17 at 8:00 pm ET, 9:30 pm PT on Nickelodeon to find out which sports star takes home the most orange, mohawked blimps.

Here are this year’s nominees:

Best Male Athlete
Bryce Harper (MLB, Washington Nationals)
Cam Newton (NFL, Carolina Panthers)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer, Real Madrid C.F.)
Kyle Busch (NASCAR)
LeBron James (NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Stephen Curry (NBA, Golden State Warriors)

Best Female Athlete
Alex Morgan (NWSL, Orlando Pride)
Elena Delle Donne (WNBA, Chicago Sky)
Jamie Anderson (Professional Snowboarder)
Katie Ledecky (Competitive Swimmer)
Lydia Ko (Professional Golfer)
Serena Williams (WTA)

Favorite Newcomer
Jewell Loyd (WNBA, Seattle Storm)
Karl-Anthony Towns (NBA, Minnesota Timberwolves)
Kristaps Porzingis (NBA, New York Knicks)
Simone Biles (Professional Artistic Gymnast)
Taylor Fritz (WTA)
Todd Gurley (NFL, Los Angeles Rams)

Hands of Gold



Andrelton Simmons (MLB, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
Antonio Brown (NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Corey Crawford (NHL, Chicago Blackhawks)
Odell Beckham Jr. (NFL, New York Giants)
Rob Gronkowski (NFL, New England Patriots)
Salvador Perez (MLB, Kansas City Royals)

Clutch Player of the Year



Carli Lloyd (NWSL, Houston Dash)
James Harden (NBA, Houston Rockets)
Kevin Durant (NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder)
Patrick Kane (NHL, Chicago Blackhawks)
Peyton Manning (NFL, Denver Broncos)
Stephen Curry (NBA, Golden State Warriors)

Sickest Moves
Alexander Ovechkin (NHL, Washington Capitals)
Kyrie Irving (NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona and the Argentina Men’s National Team)
Odell Beckham Jr. (NFL, New York Giants)
Russell Westbrook (NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder)
Stephen Curry (NBA, Golden State Warriors

Don’t Try This At Home Award



Alise Post (Professional BMX Racer)
Ashley Caldwell (Professional Aerial Skier)
Danny Davis (Professional Snowboarder)
Nyjah Huston (Professional Skateboarder)
Ronda Rousey (UFC, MMA Fighter)
Satoko Miyahara (Professional Figure Skater)

King of Swag


Andre Iguodala (NBA, Golden State Warriors)
Antonio Brown (NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Cam Newton (NFL, Carolina Panthers)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer, Real Madrid C.F.)
Russell Westbrook (NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder)
Von Miller (NFL, Denver Broncos)

Queen of Swag



Caroline Wozniacki (WTA)
Elena Delle Donne (WNBA, Chicago Sky)
Leticia Bufoni (Professional Skateboarder)
Misty Copeland (Professional Ballet Dancer)
Skylar Diggins (WNBA, Dallas Wings)
Swintayla “Swin” Cash (WNBA, New York Liberty)

Best Cannon



Aaron Rodgers (NFL, Green Bay Packers)
Bryce Harper (MLB, Washington Nationals)
Novak Djokovic (ATP)
Russell Wilson (NFL, Seattle Seahawks)
Serena Williams (WTA)
Tom Brady (NFL, New England Patriots)



Biggest Powerhouse


Draymond Green (NBA, Golden State Warriors)
Holly Holm (UFC, MMA Fighter)
J. Watt (NFL, Houston Texans)
Prince Fielder (MLB, Texas Rangers)
Rob Gronkowski (NFL, New England Patriots)
Von Miller (NFL, Denver Broncos)

Need for Speed
Usain Bolt (Professional Track and Field Athlete)
Candace Hill (Professional Track and Field Athlete)
Billy Hamilton (MLB, Cincinnati Reds)
Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)
Ted Ligety (Alpine Ski Racer)
Chloe Kim (Professional Snowboarder)

Aguayo Drafted in the Second Round of the NFL Draft

Roberto Aguayo is headed to the National Football League

The 21-year-old Latino kicker, who played for Florida State, was picked in the second round of the NFL draft.

Roberto Aguayo

Aguayo, the 59th pick overall, was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becoming the highest-drafted kicker since Mike Nugent in 2005.

The NFL’s lengthened extra point has put new emphasis on the play, now effectively a 33-yard attempt. Aguayo was perfect on his 198 PATs in college. More pertinent, the 2013 Lou Groza Award winner was 69-for-78 (88.5%) on field-goal tries and didn’t miss on any of his 49 attempts inside 40 yards.

Aguayo, quarterback Jameis Winston‘s teammate at FSU, expressed a desire to play for the Bucs and seems likely to hold the job for years to come.

But Aguayo wasn’t the only Latino footballer picked during this year’s NFL draft…

Blake Martinez is headed to the Green Bay Packers

The Packers selected the Latino inside from Stanford with the 131st pick, which arrived late in the fourth round, and contained a bit of a premonition from his mother, Carrisa Martinez.

“The funny part of it was, (my mom) was always telling me throughout the process, she was like, ‘I believe you’re going to end up at the Packers,'” Martinez said on a conference call. “And obviously it was just a lucky guess type of thing, but it’s just funny. My mom said right after, ‘Moms are always right.’ And I’ll take it.”

When his moment arrived, Martinez donned a green Packers hat and matching gray T-shirt, and immediately posted a family photo on social media. His father, Marc, had bought the gear in a pre-draft shopping spree that accumulated gear from all 32 teams — just in case.

Martinez, who stands 6 feet 1 1/2 inches and weighs 240 pounds, earned All-American honors in 2015 and was also named first-team all-Pac-12.

He recorded a team-high 141 tackles last season, and his 10.1 tackles per game led the conference.

The Packers, according to director of football operations Eliot Wolf, were enamored of Martinez’s all-around game. He flashed the ability to blitz, evidenced by 13 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks over the last two years. He expressed confidence in his ability to cover, and Martinez said he served as the main coverage linebacker in nickel and dime packages last season. His 40-yard dash time of 4.67 seconds is far from blazing, but Wolf said the Packers have no qualms about his mobility or range.

“I felt like this last year I improved tremendously on that,” Martinez said. “I feel 100% confident to go out there and cover whoever I need to cover.”

Oklahoma’s Zack Sanchez was picked in Round 5 by the Carolina Panthers.

The 21-year-old Latino cornerback, picked 141st overall, is a ball-hawk who intercepted 13 passes over the past two seasons. His seven picks in 2015 tied for fifth nationally. Sanchez was not afraid to gamble, and sometimes paid for his mistakes. During his career at Oklahoma, he also recorded 134 tackles and three touchdowns.

“He’s instinctive. I think when you get into the fourth or fifth rounds, and find a cornerback with some instincts, this is a great pick,” said NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.

Thomas Duarte is switching coasts…

The 21-year-old half-Mexican American receiver, who played for UCLA, was picked in the seventh round by the Miami Dolphins.

The 231st pick overall, the 6-foot-2, 231-pound Duarte was drafted as a tight end.

Duarte turned pro with a season of eligibility remaining. He ranked second on the Bruins last season with 53 receptions for 872 yards and a team-best 10 touchdown receptions.