Episode 8: Soccer, migration, and cultural clash - Building community in a small southern town through sport and journalism

Paul Cuadros

Award-winning investigative reporter and author Paul Cuadros joins the podcast to discuss migration and the experience of newcomers in the United States. He discusses much of the reporting outlined in his fantastic book, “A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America,” which tells the story of Siler City, N.C., as it copes and struggles with Latino immigration through the lives of a predominantly Latino high school soccer team.

Paul Cuadros is an award-winning investigative reporter and author whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Time magazine, Salon.com, The Chicago Reporter, and other national and local publications. He joined the school of journalism at UNC Chapel Hill in 2007.

For the past 20 years, Paul Cuadros has focused his reporting on issues of race and poverty in America. In 1999, he won a fellowship with the Alicia Patterson Foundation, sponsored by New York Newsday and considered one of the most prestigious fellowships in journalism, to report on emerging Latino communities in rural poultry-processing towns in the South.

The culmination of his reporting was his book, “A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America,” which tells the story of Siler City, N.C., as it copes and struggles with Latino immigration through the lives of a predominantly Latino high school soccer team.

“A Home on the Field” was the summer reading selection at UNC in 2009. He is the only faculty member at UNC to have his book selected as summer reading. The book has been chosen for summer reading programs at other universities in North Carolina and beyond. His book is the cornerstone of the social work practice with latinx communities course I teach.

Cuadros serves as the chair and executive director of the UNC Scholars’ Latino Initiative, a three-year mentoring and college preparatory program between UNC students and Latino high school students at six area high schools.

The program has more than 150 students and is housed at the Center for Global Initiatives. Paul is also the co-founder of the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, which is the Latino educational and cultural center at UNC. He is also co-founder of the Latina/o Caucus, a university coalition of faculty and staff on campus that advocates for Latino interests at the university.

He is currently working on his second book on migration.