Houston Dash Trade María Sánchez to San Diego Wave

María Sánchez is making wave(s)

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional footballer and Mexico international has been traded to the San Diego Wave from the Houston Dash, per ESPN.

Maria SanchezThe news was first reported by Pro Soccer Wire, which said Houston was expected to receive a transfer fee from San Diego as part of the deal. 

The winger’s move to San Diego comes after ESPN reported on Sunday that Sánchez was seeking a trade just four months after signing a lucrative deal with the Dash.

The $1.5 million three-year deal, with a fourth-year option, was at the time the largest in NWSL history. Sánchez was a restricted free agent this past offseason, meaning that Houston had the ability to match any offer from another NWSL team and retain her rights.

Her contract is signed with the league, so it will remain in place with San Diego.

“This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about,” Sánchez stated on social media on Thursday regarding her request for “an immediate trade.”

The NWSL’s trade window closes at midnight ET on Friday.

Sánchez was one of the key players for Mexico in its run to the semifinals of the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup in March.

Houston has kicked off the 2024 NWSL season with a 1W-1D-2L record, while San Diego has started 1-1-1.

Lila Avilés Among Storytellers Immortalized with Barbie Doll in Their Likeness for International Women’s Day

Lila Avilés is getting all dolled up…

The 42-year-old Mexican film director, screenwriter, actress and producer, whose meteoric rise on the international stage after just two feature films that have both represented Mexico at the Oscars, is among eight women storytellers selected by Mattel to be immortalized with Barbie dolls in their likeness.

Lila Avilés, BarbieAvilés joins Academy Award-winning actors Helen Mirren and Viola Davis along with country-pop artist Shania Twain, Australia’s Kylie Minogue, German comedian Enissa Amani, Japanese model Nicole Fujita and Brazilian Indigenous influencer Maira Gomez who have been selected as Barbie role models in honor of International Women’s Day.

Their dolls will be one of a kind and not for sale.

Said Mattel in a statement: “Since the brand’s inception, Barbie has helped girls explore their limitless potential through different roles and narratives – from encouraging self-expression through dress-up to playing out any of her 250+ careers. With Barbie by their sides, countless children have been able to imagine their own stories through play that help shape their real-life futures.”

“The brand is sharing countless stories of empowerment and bringing her legendary legacy to life through the eyes and words of fans everywhere, starting with some of the most renowned storytellers out there,” it continued.

Given the phenomenal box office and critical success of Greta Gerwig’s multi-Oscar nominated movie, Barbie, the company chose the storytelling theme for this year.

Last year’s theme was STEM, which covered women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. That year, Engineer Katya Echazarreta, the first Mexican-born woman in space, was among the few to be chosen for a Barbie doll to be made in her likeness.

Lila Avilés, BarbieDescribing her selection as an “incredible, beautiful and surreal surprise,” Avilés expressed her delight at the recognition. “It’s not only me but my career that is being honored,” she told Variety.

The figurine portrays her with a camera on her shoulder, a script in one hand and her beloved cat by her feet.

Her latest film, Totem, which landed on the long list for the Oscar’s Best International Feature category, has played in more than 100 film festivals and will be rolling out theatrically across 40+ countries, including the U.S. where it’s still out. It’s slated to play on the Criterion Channel and just became available on Netflix Latin America.

“People ask me if my movies are feminist. In as much as my protagonists are women, they are, in an organic way,” she said.  The Chambermaid, my feature debut, gave voice to a woman who’s ostensibly invisible to many,” she noted. “Totem delves into childhood and the idea that childhood is destiny,” she added, recalling the times when she and her brother played with each other’s toys, including her Barbie dolls.

This doll is hers to keep. Fortunately, her daughter is already in her teens so may not be clamoring to play with it.

Lizbeth Ovalle Scores Two Goals to Help Propel Mexico to CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup Semifinals

Lizbeth Ovalle’s golden hour continues…

The 24-year-old Mexican footballer, who plays as a midfielder for Tigres UANL and the Mexico women’s national team, scored two goals as Mexico advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup with a 3-2 victory over Paraguay on Sunday.

Lizbeth Ovalle Karen Luna also scored and Esthefanny Barreras saved a penalty for Mexico, which followed up its landmark victory over the U.S. on Monday by outlasting Paraguay in a thrilling second half featuring four goals and many more chances for both teams. 

Mexico will face Brazil in the semifinals in San Diego on Wednesday.

Mexico conceded its first two goals of the Gold Cup, but still hung on with the backing of an unsurprisingly supportive crowd of 13,229 at BMO Stadium in the U.S. city that’s considered the second home of Mexico’s national teams.

Ovalle extended her star-making performance in this tournament by scoring in each half, giving her five goals in Gold Cup play. The Tigres forward also scored the first goal in the first half of Mexico’s 2-0 stunner over the U.S. with a floating shot over the defense.

Camila Barbosa and Rebeca Fernández scored in the second half for Paraguay, which lost to Mexico for the third time in the nations’ four meetings.

Mexico reached the Gold Cup quarterfinals with three clean sheets in group play, capped by that victory over the powerhouse Americans — just its second win ever over the U.S. and first since 2013.

Although Mexico didn’t qualify for last year’s Women’s World Cup, it still hasn’t lost an international match since an exhibition defeat in September 2022.

Mexico dominated play early and took the lead in the 31st minute when a centering pass from California-born-and-raised forward Scarlett Camberos bounced through Paraguay’s defense to Ovalle, who hit the far bottom corner of the net.

Mexico scored again in the 49th minute when Ovalle’s corner was deflected to the top of the penalty area to the 26-year-old Luna, who hammered it home for the second goal of her first international tournament with Mexico.

Paraguay forward Jessica Martínez got a penalty shot in the 51st minute after she was taken down in the box, but Barreras made a diving arm stop and smothered the follow-up, prompting the Los Angeles crowd to chant her name.

Paraguay kept up its attack, but Mexico defender Rebeca Bernal blocked one shot with her body and headed another off the goal line in a lengthy scramble moments later.

Barbosa finally got Paraguay on the board in the 64th minute, converting Dulce Quintana‘s corner for the first goal allowed by Mexico in the tournament.

Mexico regained a two-goal lead when Stephany Mayor forced a turnover and broke in all alone on goalkeeper Alicia Bobadilla, who stopped Mayor’s shot but couldn’t get in front of Ovalle’s rebound score.

Fernandez got behind Mexico’s back line moments later and made it 3-2. But Paraguay couldn’t find an equalizer.

Mexico’s Osmar Olvera Ibarra Wins Men’s 1-Meter Springboard Gold at World Aquatics Championships

It’s the golden hour for Osmar Olvera Ibarra.

The 19-year-old Mexican diver has given his country its second diving gold medal in the history of the World Aquatics Championships, winning the men’s 1-meter springboard Saturday.

Osmar Olvera IbarraOlvera became the first diver from a country other than China to claim the top spot in the event since Alexandre Despatie of Canada in 2005.

Paolo Espinosa is the only other Mexican diving world champion, capturing gold on the 10-meter platform at Rome in 2009.

Olvera was a silver medalist on both 1- and 3-meter springboard at last summer’s world championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Now, he’s got some gold-medal momentum with the 2024 Paris Games just five months away.

Osmar Olvera IbarraOlvera led the morning preliminaries and cruised through the final, posting a score of 431.75 points over six dives. The silver went to Li Shixin of Australia at 395.70, while Ross Haslam of Britain took the bronze in 393.10.

China, which has dominated diving at both the Olympics and world championships, claimed its first gold in Doha when 13-year-old Huang Jianjie and Zhang Jiaqi won the mixed 10-meter synchronized platform.

With its focus firmly on Paris, China sent a scaled-back team to Doha, giving other nations a chance to shine. The diving superpower didn’t enter the first two events Friday and is assured of its fewest gold medals at worlds since settling for eight in 2017.

Over the past three championships, China has claimed 37 of 39 gold medals.

Zheng Jiuyuan of China lost any chance of cracking the 1-meter medal stand with a botched dive in the fifth round, nearly landing on his knees. He finished 11th out of 12 finalists.

Li’s silver-medal performance marked another remarkable turn for the 35-year-old diver, who captured 1-meter gold for his native China at both the 2011 and 2013 worlds before moving to Australia.

In the mixed event, Huang and 19-year-old Zhang romped to victory for China with 353.82 points. Zhang added to the gold won at Fukuoka while paired with Wang Feilong.

Jo Jin Mi and Im Yong Myong of North Korea took the silver with 303.96 points, while the bronze went to Kevin Berlin Reyes and Alejandra Estudillo Torres of Mexico at 296.13.

In other finals on Day 2 of the first world championships held in the Middle East, Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands pulled off a thrilling victory in the women’s 10-kilometer race and Evangelia Platanioti of Greece took artistic swimming gold in women’s solo technical.

Van Rouwendaal touched first in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 26.80 seconds — one-tenth of a second ahead of Maria de Valdes of Spain. The bronze went to Angelica Andre of Portugal, who was 1.4 seconds behind the winner.

On the last of six laps around the Old Doha Port, Moesha Johnson of Australia faded from the lead to fourth as van Rouwendaal showed off her finishing kick in the final 500 meters of the rough-and-tumble race.

The 30-year-old van Rouwendaal regained the title she held at the 2022 world championships in Budapest, Hungary. She finished fourth last summer in Fukuoka, where Leonie Beck of Germany swept the 5K and 10K titles. Beck finished 20th at Doha, 45 seconds behind the winner.

Van Rouwendaal is a longtime star on the open water circuit. She won gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and grabbed a silver at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

The 29-year-old Platanioti paced the final of solo technical with 272.9633 points. Jacqueline Simoneau of Canada claimed the silver (269.2767), and Xu Huiyan of China took bronze (262.3700).

Many top athletes are skipping Doha, which is hosting the worlds a year behind schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time the world championships have been held in the same calendar year as the Summer Games.

Andrés Guardado Signs with Liga MX’s León

Andrés Guardado is making his triumphant return to Mexico.

The 37-year-old Mexican professional footballer, a midfielder who retired from the national team in 2023 after a record-breaking 179 appearances for Mexico, has been signed by Liga MX’s León side.

Andrés GuardadoThe former Mexico captain and five-time World Cup participant is returning to Liga MX after last playing for boyhood club Atlas in 2007. 

After leaving Atlas, Guardado had a lengthy 17-year run in European club soccer that took him through Deportivo La CoruñaValenciaBayer LeverkusenPSV Eindhoven, and most recently, Real Betis.

Guardado stands as the Mexican with the most seasons in European soccer and as the all-time non-domestic leader in appearances (218) with Real Betis.

“The Green and White Captain has been key in the sporting growth in recent years. With him, the team has qualified for European competitions four times and also won the Copa del Rey in 2022,” Real Betis said in a statement.

“The Club would like to effusively thank Guardado for his services and wish him all the best in the future.”

Under the guidance of new manager Jorge Bava, León kicked off the 2024 Clausura season on Wednesday with a 2-1 loss at home to Tigres.

Earlier in December, the 2023 Concacaf Champions League winners were knocked out in their debut match at the Club World Cup after a 1-0 loss to Urawa Red Diamonds.

Brandon Vázquez to Reportedly Join Liga MX’s C.F. Monterrey

Brandon Vázquez s headed south of the border

The 25-year-old Mexican American professional soccer player, a forward for the United States and FC Cincinnati, is set to join Liga MX‘s C.F. Monterrey after agreeing to contract details on Wednesday, according to ESPN MX.

Brandon Vázquez,Monterrey and Cincinnati reached a deal last week for the player, who’ll sign a four-year contract with the Mexican club and arrive for preseason training in the coming days.

The Athletic was the first to report the story, adding that the fee for Vazquez will be in the region of $7.5 million with another $1 million in potential add-ons and a sell-on clause.

Vazquez reportedly had interest from European clubs, as well as from Liga MX powerhouses Chivas, which attempted to sign the player in 2023.

Before eventually agreeing to a contract deal with fellow Liga MX side Monterrey, the striker told ESPN last summer that he believed Cincinnati would provide “the fastest route and best route to get to Europe” after a deal was turned down for Chivas.

Thanks to his 28 goals scored in his last two seasons, the forward earned an MLS All-Star appearance in 2022 and a Supporters’ Shield titl in 2023 with FC Cincinnati, which lost to eventual champions Columbus Crew in the semifinals of the MLS Cup playoffs.

He previously played for Atlanta United FC (2017-19), where he clinched an MLS Cup title in 2018 and a U.S. Open Cup title in 2019, although Vazquez had a minimal role with just three goals in just as many MLS seasons.

A native of Chula Vista, California, Vazquez was developed as a Liga MX youth academy product across the border with Club Tijuana, but only made one appearance for the senior team through a domestic cup match.

Eligible for both Mexico and the United States at the international level, Vazquez eventually made his senior debut for the USMNT in 2022 and has gone on to collect four goals across eight USMNT appearances.

Vazquez told ESPN in 2023 that “nobody” from the Mexican federation had reached out to him before he committed his future to the U.S.

FC Barcelona Eyeing Mexico’s Santiago Giménez

Santiago Giménez is getting a lot of attention from FC Barcelona

The LaLiga football club is tracking the 22-year-old Mexican soccer player and Mexico international despite being aware that competition for the striker will be high and Feyenoord will demand a big fee, according to ESPN.

Santiago GiménezGiménez has been in explosive form this season, scoring 13 times in 10 Eredivisie appearances and another two in his sole Champions League outing to date, a 3-1 win over Lazio.

Those performances have alerted some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Barça, with the source adding that the Catalan side have been impressed by how quickly he has adapted to the European game.

Barça have sent various scouts to watch Giménez since he joined Feyenoord from Cruz Azul in 2022, intensifying their monitoring of him in recent weeks.

His goal scoring instinct has been compared to that of Luis Suárez within the club.

Barça will continue to watch him closely in the coming months, with a source adding that he is a player the club are “keeping in mind” for the future, but an immediate deal would face a number of hurdles.

Firstly, Barça have already agreed a deal worth an initial €30 million ($31.7m), potentially rising to €61m with add-ons, for the Athletico Paranaense forward Vitor Roque, reducing the need for more attacking reinforcements.

The Brazil forward will either join the club in January or next summer to provide competition for Robert Lewandowski, although with the Poland striker turning 36 next year and linked with a move to Saudi Arabia last summer, further additions to the frontline have not been completely ruled out.

However, as revealed by ESPN recently, Barça’s current priority is to sign a deep-lying midfielder and two full-backs.

Any business will depend on Barça’s financial situation, too, with the club currently subject to spending restrictions as they are in excess of their LaLiga-imposed cap.

Therefore, it remains unclear whether they will be able to register the signing of Roque in January, as coach Xavi Hernández wants, or if they will have to wait until the summer.

Meanwhile, Feyenoord is also expected to command a big fee for Giménez, whose goals helped them win the Dutch league last season.

There is considered to be a lack of top-level No. 9s available, which has increased the interest in Giménez and is likely to drive up the cost of any permanent transfer.

Karol G to Make Three “Mañana Será Bonito Tour” Stops in Mexico in Early 2024

Karol G is heading to Mexico…

As part of its Latin American leg, the 32-year-old Colombian singer-songwriter’s Mañana Será Bonito Tour will make three stops in Mexico, starting February 8 at the capital’s emblematic Estadio Azteca, promoter Ocesa has announced.

Karol GAccording to Karol G’s official website, the other two dates scheduled in Mexico are February 16, at the Estadio Mobil Super in the northern city of Monterrey, and February 23 at the Tres de Marzo stadium in Guadalajara.

Pre-sale for HSBC cardholders for the Estadio Azteca show begins next Monday and Tuesday (October 23-24), and the following day they will be available to the general public at the venue’s box office or through Ticketmaster, Ocesa said.

The show at the Estadio Azteca will be produced by Ocesa and Westwood. The collaboration between both promoters had previously occurred last December, when Puerto Rican superstar Bad Bunny sang at the same venue.

The nicknamed “Coloso de Santa Úrsula” has room for about 83,000 people, according to its website. Among other stars that have performed there are U2, Madonna and Vicente Fernández.

The last time that “La Bichota” performed in Mexico City was in June 2022, when she gave two sold-out concerts at the Arena Ciudad de México, where she had RBD’s Anahí and Mexican rock band Café Tacvba as special guests.

Karol G’s upcoming shows in Mexico, after her successful U.S. stadiums tour, mark the beginning of a journey through 18 Latin American cities, including in her native Colombia, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Argentina and Brazil.

Her previous arenas stint, the 2022 $trip Love Tour, became the highest-grossing U.S. tour by a Latina in history. It grossed $69.9 million across 33 shows in North America, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, surpassing Jennifer Lopez’s $50 million on the 2019 It’s My Party World Tour and Shakira’s $28.2 million on the 2018 El Dorado World Tour.

Last August, Karol G was the first Latina headliner at Lollapalooza. She subsequently released her second album of the year, Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season), six months after Mañana Será Bonito, which debuted atop the Billboard 200 becoming the first No. 1 by a woman singing in Spanish in the history of the chart.


Mexico Submits Lila Avilés’ “Totem” for 2024 Oscars Best International Feature Film Race

Lila Avilés’ latest project has entered the Academy Awards race…

Mexico has selected the Berlin competition title Tótem, hailing from the 41-year-old Mexican film director, screenwriter, actress and producer, as its entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2024 Oscars.

Lila Avilés,The family drama is Avilés’ second film after the award-winning feature debut The Chambermaid, which debuted in Toronto in 2018 and then traveled the international festival circuit before being selected as Mexico’s Oscar submission.

Tótem stars newcomer Naíma Sentíes as a 7-year-old girl navigating the strange atmosphere of a special surprise party being held for her dying artist father, from whom she herself feels temporarily estranged.

Lila Avilés, TotemOther cast members include stars Montserrat Marañon, Marisol Gasê, Saori Gurza, Mateo García Elizondo, Teresita Sánchez, Francisco Maldonado, Iazua Larios and Alberto Amador.

The film was produced by Tatiana Graullera, Avilés and Louise Riousse.

After playing Berlin, Tótem made its North American bow at New Directors/New Films and played Telluride earlier this month, where Alfonso Cuarón presented the screening.

The film will next play the Woodstock Film Festival, Hamptons Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival and Mill Valley Film Festival.

Internationally, Tótem is set to play the London Film Festival and San Sebastian.

Héctor Herrera Named to Mexico’s 24-Man Roster for Upcoming U.S.-Based Friendlies

Héctor Herrera is back on the roster…

Mexico has announced the 24-man roster that will take part in U.S.-based friendlies against Australia on September 9 in Dallas and Uzbekistan three days later in Atlanta, with the 33-year-old Mexican professional footballer making the list.

Héctor Herrera The first-ever roster selection for new manager Jaime “Jimmy” Lozano is highlighted by the return of the veteran Houston Dynamo midfielder and Fulham forward Raúl Jiménez, both of whom were recently left out of the Mexico squad that won the Gold Cup this summer.

Elsewhere in September’s squad, marquee names and usual call-ups for Mexico such as Salernitana‘s Guillermo Ochoa, Feyenoord‘s Santiago Giménez and West Ham United‘s Edson Álvarez made the cut.

New faces that earned first-ever call-ups for Mexico’s senior team include ChivasJesus Orozco, Monterrey‘s Jordi Cortizo and PumasCesar Huerta.

Colombian-born winger Julian Quiñones was not included in the call-up, but Lozano noted earlier on Monday that the Club America player has already committed to a switch to Mexico, pending paperwork.

“It wasn’t our convincing, this was an own decision and we accept it, we validate it, and we are very proud to have a player like Julian Quiñones,” said El Tri‘s coach earlier this week. “His professional career as a soccer player, nearly all of it was developed in Mexico.

“He’s been here for many years, he’s very grateful to the country for the opportunity it provided.”

Due to ongoing trades and moves, Mexico’s coach also said that a few noteworthy players would be left out of the team.

Names like Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, who is set to undergo a medical with PSV Eindhoven ahead of a move from NapoliJorge Sánchez, announced as a Porto addition on Tuesday, Jesus “Tecatito” CoronaCésar MontesGerardo Arteaga and Luis Chávez, who debuted with Dynamo Moscow on Tuesday, were left out of the squad.

Serving as interim coach during Mexico’s Gold Cup-winning run in July, Lozano was given the permanent role earlier in August. September’s roster marks the first selection made by Lozano after previously leading the Gold Cup squad that was chosen by former coach Diego Cocca.

Mexico’s 24-man roster

Goalkeepers: Angel Malagon (Club America), Guillermo Ochoa (Salernitana), Jose Antonio Rodríguez (Club Tijuana)

Defenders: Kevin Álvarez (Club America), Gilberto Sepúlveda (Chivas), Jesus Orozco (Chivas), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey), Johan Vásquez (Genoa), Julián Araujo (Las Palmas), Jesús Angulo (Tigres)

Midfielders: Carlos Rodríguez (Cruz Azul), Roberto Alvarado (Chivas), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo), Luis Romo (Monterrey), Jordi Cortizo (Monterrey), Érick Sánchez (Pachuca), Edson Alvarez (West Ham), Sebastian Cordova (Tigres)

Forwards: Alexis Vega (Chivas), Santiago Gimenez (Feyenoord), Raul Jimenez (Fulham), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Orbelín Pineda (AEK Athens), Cesar Huerta (Pumas)