Compartiendo la Cultura Con Otros: How a Spanish Tradition Brought the Indomitable Club Together

October 6, 2022 - United Soccer League Championship (USL) - Sacramento Republic FC News Release

Much of the success of this year's Republic FC squad can be attributed to how the roster has gelled off the pitch. Repeatedly, the unselfish nature, and togetherness of the entire squad has been thrust to the forefront helping the team win tough games. What created that connection between each player came during Palm Springs training camp, when a week outside the typical environment got the team set for the season. It had, and continues to deliver, immense benefit.

From the trials and tribulation of new faces, the moments that bonded the team together on the field, to the traditions that come with training camp - sharing laughs during rookie karaoke to stories over meals, this year's training camp set the stage for a challenging season. A slice of culture through cuisine was one of the first elements that helped bond the club's roster, as Republic FC newcomer Keko shared some Spanish traditions with his new teammates while in Palm Springs.

Just weeks after his first trip to the United States to join the team, the Spaniard brought to his teammates not just a revered food item cherished in his home country, but an experience. Jamon Iberico is a rich, expensive Ham that's dried and cured for up to two years, and only made in a specific region of the world spanning Spain and Portugal. It's a regional delicacy in its place of origin - one so closely revered that its production is regulated by law - that only made its way to the United States in 2007.

In the team room, thousands of miles away from the typical comforts of home, Keko shared this prized culinary delicacy with his new brothers, slicing paper thin cuts for all to enjoy. From table to table, Keko would provide an appetizer, but also a bit of the history of the ham that is a part of Spanish culture and why it's so important.

Much more than a taste of home, Keko introduced the values of Spanish society, and his own heritage to the team. The ham wasn't just about food, but rather enjoying life and all that comes with it - a view shared amongst the populous in his home country.

"It's our culture in Spain," he said. "People want to enjoy life. We live to enjoy life, not only for work."

That mindset has rubbed off on the remainder of the squad, who through the highs and lows of the season has always kept their heads held high and found a way to put a smile on every teammates face. From jokes on the training pitch, to the environment created during games, the Spaniard's ever-positive demeanor has been a significant part of the clubs collective nature. For Keko, its acceptance has been comforting, and in a way, beautiful.

"I'm happy to here in this beautiful group," he continued. "We've had a good a year, a good season. There are only reasons for being happy."

That good year and season all started in a team room, as the midfielder delivered a piece of Spain to his club. It broke the ice, allowed the squad to be themselves, experience something new and bond over something special to one of their own. And it continues to as the club makes its final push before the playoffs.

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