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‘Capt Cold’ Miller Latino soccer team in ‘Jets’

LOS ANGELES, July 21, (Agencies): Journalist Paul Cuadros traveled to North Carolina in 1999 seeking to report on immigrant poultry industry workers in the South. He stayed as a high school soccer coach who saw the sports program become a boost for its Latino players and a bridge between people. The documentary series “Los Jets,” debuted recently on NUVOtv, follows the Jets of Siler City’s Jordan-Matthew High School as they compete for a spot in the state championships and their larger struggle beyond the soccer field. “If we could do anything about slightly changing the conversation about what the (Latino) community is, who these people are. ... We have exceptional young people. These are their stories and what their lives are really like,” executive producer and TV anchor Lynda Lopez said. She produced the series with sister Jennifer Lopez through the actress-singer’s Nuyorican Productions for NUVOtv, an English-language channel with Latino entertainment programming.

“Los Jets,” directed by Mark Landsman, shows “what it’s like for an immigrant kid or son of an immigrant growing up in the rural South, feeling alienated and trying to integrate into society,” Cuadros said. He chronicled his earlier Jets experience and ramifications in his 2006 book, “A Home on the Field.” Siler City, in Chatham County in central North Carolina, is a rural town of about 7,800, with a Latino population that grew from barely 2 percent when Cuadros arrived to at least 50 percent today, he said, citing the US Census. Immigrants were drawn by the prospect of jobs at local poultry processing plants. As their numbers grew so did the town’s reaction, said Cuadros, who teaches journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “People were angry at how the community was changing and how rapidly it was becoming different,” he said.

Resonated
For Cuadros, the idea of coaching soccer was simply a way to pass his off-hours during his year’s stay as part of a reporting fellowship. But the US-born Cuadros realized the lack of a high school team resonated with his own outsider experience growing up with immigrant parents in Michigan. “When I first got (to Siler City), Latinos didn’t feel they were part of the school, didn’t participate in clubs or sports. They were really strangers in their own school, their own community,” he said. “Forming the team helped provide an outlet for these kids.” Winning the state championship in 2004 meant even more. “‘It’s the first time I could look at those kids and see they were one of our own,’ “Cuadros recalled hearing from non-Hispanic residents. His adopted town and its dynamics are not unique, he stressed.
 
“There’s so many towns like Siler City across the Midwest and South that are going through essentially the same thing. I’m acutely aware of soccer teams popping up there in which this story is replicated again and again.” For Latinos at the school, the soccer team has encouraged participation and success in other areas of including academics: There have been several Latino valedictorians, Cuadros said. They can be inspired anew each day by the photo gallery that hangs in a hallway of Jordan-Matthew High and includes, among other champions, the soccer team of ‘04. That display was Cuadros’ dream, he said, so Latino students “would have to pass by that picture and see somebody who represented them.”

Also:
LOS ANGELES: “Prison Break” star Wentworth Miller will guest star on CW’s new “The Flash” as the villain Captain Cold. Cold, real name Leonard Snart, has battled the Flash in the comics for half a century. He is known for ruthless cunning, personal discipline, and occasional glimmers of kindness and humanity.
“Flash” executive producer Greg Berlanti announced the news at a Television Critics Association panel last week. He said Miller will appear in the fourth episode of the series. The DC Comics-inspired drama, a spinoff of “Arrow,” follows CSI investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who becomes the fastest man alive after he is struck by lightning. DC Entertainment chief creative officer Geoff Johns minimized the possibility of any overlap between the movie universe of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and the TV universe of “Arrow” and “The Flash.” While Marvel has linked its TV and movie storylines, Johns said DC sees the CW and film worlds as separate.

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