HE SHARES part of his name with a famous explorer, but proud Ecuadoran-Australian John Vasco is just happy to find his way to the NRL Grand Final.
Vasco was the lucky name drawn from the hat in the GYG Latin Heat raffle for two tickets to the NRL decider on Sunday in Sydney.
It was good fortune for the mad sports fan, who only recently returned to Rugby League from a long lay-off, training for the upcoming Latino Rugby League Sevens at Cabramatta on October 17.
“I first got introduced to Rugby League as a kid with the Marist Brothers Mustangs in Sydney,” says Vasco.
“My family came to Australia from a little village in Ecuador called Patate, so I was actually born in a Surry Hills hospital.
“We moved back to Ecuador for the first few years of my life, then when I was ready to go to school, we returned to Australia.”
Having grown up a loyal South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter, Vasco currently lists Greg Inglis as his favourite player.
His enthusiasm for the sport has reached new levels after deciding to pull on the boots again, in order to represent his beloved Ecuador in a historic Rugby League debut at Cabramatta.
The Ecuadorans are one of the dark horses of the eight-team tournament, having boomed in player numbers after a recruitment drive by team leader Rodney Garcia.
Latin Heat co-founder Matthew Brown, currently living in Ecuador, has also been hugely proactive in promoting the sport and forming an alliance with touch football in the country.
“We faced off against the El Salvador squad at training the other day and I copped some pretty decent hits,” says Vasco.
“But really it’s been great to become a part of the Ecuadoran team and the Latin Heat organisation as a whole.
“Mixing with all the other Latino nationalities has been refreshing…we all come from similar backgrounds.
“I’m excited to see this grow and encouraging the mix between Latino traditions and a sport that is exciting, but relatively new to our communities.”
Latin American Rugby League is supported by Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taquerias, SHIELD Security, OneBigSwitch.com.au, Jani-King Cleaning, SeriousAboutRL.com, Rugby League Team Manager 2015 computer game, Lichtnauer and Associates Accountants, Majestic Property Maintenance, Cabramatta ink tattoo studio and official teamwear sponsor Ryzer.
Our official charities supported are Amnesty International and Live To Give Projects.
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