SAN ELIZARIO, Texas (KTSM) — U.S. Soccer and AT&T announced their ‘Cultural Connections’ campaign, a collaboration with artist Luis Pinto and USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi on a bespoke design that will honor their cultural background and roots during Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated across the United States from Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
Through the collaboration, Pinto’s design brings to life a celebration of Pepi’s Mexican-American heritage. A native of San Elizario, Texas, Pepi spent most of his childhood splitting time with family between his hometown and the neighboring Ciudad Juárez, just across the USA-Mexico border. A proud dual-national, Pepi committed to representing the United States on the international stage in August 2021.
“This initiative was inspiring for me to get behind to not only bring visibility to the millions of Hispanic-Americans in our country but to connect them all through soccer,” said Pepi. “There are millions of stories like mine in this beautiful country, and we are all proud to represent the diversity of our Hispanic heritage, together united.”
The bespoke design will also be showcased as an apparel item available in limited quantities at the U.S. Soccer Store. According to the San Elizario Independent School District, Pepi will donate a portion of the sales from the specially designed tee to Alarcon Elementary School, the hometown elementary school Pepi attended. The donation will help fund resources and tools necessary for digital inclusion, literacy, and education.
Inspired by Pepi’s personal story, which shares universal themes with that of many Hispanic Americans, the design most prominently features the following elements and themes:
- Double-Headed Eagle – This represents the transcendence of the two cultures that comprise Pepi’s Mexican-American heritage.
- Presence of Stars – Represents the historical tie to Pepi’s hometown of San Elizario, with a specific nod to its ‘Star on the Mountain’ landmark in El Paso.
- Family – Growing up in San Elizario in El Paso County, Pepi spent many weekends crossing the border to Ciudad Juárez to spend time with family, who played an important part in his personal life and eventual success in soccer.
- Unity – The bond between multiple cultures through soccer and the diverse players and fans from various Hispanic communities.
U.S. Soccer will showcase the creative process to bring the design to life via a two-part digital content series, showing fans Pinto’s journey to showcase Pepi’s story while illustrating the connection that soccer creates across generations of multicultural families as a shared experience and source of cultural pride.
“This collaboration demonstrates the transcendent power of soccer and purpose-driven partnerships,” said Kelly Higgins, U.S. Soccer Vice President of Partnership Marketing. “We’re thrilled to come together with AT&T to celebrate the diverse fanbase and players that represent our Federation, telling the story of rising USMNT star Ricardo Pepi and the unique connection between sport and culture while impacting digital inequity. We couldn’t be more excited to see this come to life and to build on this initiative for years to come.”
The design will be showcased during AT&T’s title night on Oct. 14 as the USMNT takes on Germany at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in Hartford, Conn. (3 p.m. ET; Telemundo, Peacock, Fútbol de Primera).
“It was an amazing experience to collaborate on this initiative with Pepi, U.S. Soccer, and AT&T in bringing this design to life, where we could explore how soccer can bring us together beyond our cultural background as well as getting to amplify and celebrate Pepi’s Mexican-American heritage,” said Pinto. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity, and I hope the team and fans keep celebrating this meaningful collaboration.”