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3,700 kmfrom home
The Salvadoran José Valladares found in football the opportunity to know North America, where he struggles” as an illegal migrant.
Current Country: 
United States
Country of Origin: 
El Salvador

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This story was originally written by Alfredo Duarte for La Prensa Grafica. It is shared here as part of the Together with Sport initiative for the UN's Together Campaign.


From a small township in western El Salvador, he is a football enthusiast since the age of six, José Valladares Hernandez is a migrant among thousands who left El Salvador with big dreams in mind. And despite the limitations he found his escape valve in the sport.

Valladares is since last year holder of United Naples, Naples City, Miami, and participates in the NPSL (third division of American football), the same league where Tomas Creole Militia Granitto.

"I emigrated to the United States at the age of 16, I was alone. I was in school for six months and I was sent scholarships, but having no papers did not allow me. I came to Naples, Miami, and at the age of 19 I played a friendly game where I saw Scouts from Mexico's Cruz Azul," said the footballer, who is now 27 years old.

The native of Canton La Hachadura, the municipality of San Francisco Menéndez (Ahuachapán), reports that when the viewers of the Mexican club invited him to travel and play on the reserves of the Aztec soil he could not refuse. He was at the beginning of his profession and although his mother asked him not to go, he took a risk.

Although this Salvadoran already had the chance to circumvent the rules of migration in the United States, he almost lost the opportunity of his life in Mexico, when he arrived at the Mexican customs.

"At the Mexican customs arrested me an agent, I did not have a visa and had to cross. I stopped and he told me that he did not believe me and that I could be deported, even though I showed him the contact and phone number of the coach. In the end he let me go because I was a fan of Cruz Azul," he explains.

Lea la historia completa aquí.

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