Mexican soccer star Diana Flores’ Super Bowl ad broke barriers. Can it empower women?

Her fans know that Diana Flores is a slippery and mobile target that allows her opponents to fly through the air and catch her. But for millions more, it took a Super Bowl halftime commercial to see that the Mexico City native is emerging as not only flag football’s biggest star, but also a symbol of female empowerment.

In the two-minute ad that aired during Super Bowl LVII, Flores, the quarterback and captain of the Mexican national team, talks to Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews while one of the flags is hanging from Flores’ waist. . This sparks a crazy flurry of elusive Flores, complete with celebrity cameos from NFL star Jalen Ramsey and tennis great Billie Jean King.

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What stands out most in the choreographed chase is Flores’ speed and agility as he dodges parking attendants, a guy in a bird suit, and an actress playing Flores’ mother. Nothing can stop it. “To the women pushing soccer forward, we can’t wait to see where you take this sport,” reads the final caption.

Conceived as an attempt to push flag football as an official Olympic sport in 2028, the ad nods to the NFL’s global marketing ambitions as much as it does to third-wave feminism. However, Flores’ seriousness and determination stand out. If his amazing athleticism has made him a champion on the field, his natural charisma has made him a persuasive ambassador for the NFL, and an idol for Latinos across the hemisphere.

“It’s an honor for me to be a Mexican, to be a Latina woman who represents women all over the world,” she said in an interview with The Times. “I think it was a very important moment, representing our work, our discipline, our heart. We are rewriting the history of women in sports and I feel very honored and blessed to be where I am today.”

Although many Mexicans were surprised that the diminutive 25-year-old could dominate a sport generally ruled by behemoths, Flores credits his success to the trust his parents placed in him. He was told from a very young age that he was capable of anything. His father, Jaime, who played soccer in college, told him: “It doesn’t matter that soccer is not known in Mexico yet. Keep training and don’t listen to the naysayers.”

“My dad used to tell me, ‘You’re strong,’ and that’s something I grew up with,” Flores said. “It’s important to remember the power of words and the impact they have on our boys and girls for generations to come.”

Jaime Flores, who played quarterback, running back and defense for the Águilas Blancas del Politécnico Nacional, taught his daughter the importance of knowing how to handle different positions. Diana wanted to learn the game, emphasizing the positive rather than the punitive way she had been taught at a young age.

Jaime Flores and his daughter Diana during a flag football match.

(Family photo)

“I don’t know if it’s just us or our culture, but you always see the good side rather than the bad side, “You were wrong, that’s not how it’s done, I’ll teach you”. ” Jaime said. “With my daughter I always focused on success. He probably had three things that he didn’t do well, but he did five more, and I congratulated him on those successes.”

From an early age, Flores loved team sports, and because of this, along with his parents’ piano, gymnastics and karate lessons, he abandoned his first loves, ballet and dance. That’s when he found his true calling.

“The flag caught him and he didn’t let go. It’s his passion, it’s his life,” said Jaime.

At a young age, Diana was competing against older girls, but even then her speed stood out.

At a young age, Diana was competing against older girls, but even then her speed stood out.

(Family photo)

By age 10, Diana was mostly competing with older girls. By the time he reached his teenage years, his skills were so advanced that he would travel abroad to play matches. In 2012, at the age of 14, he was called up to the North Penn High School team in Pennsylvania, where he was the captain for the regional tournament organized by the NFL.

At the age of 16, he was called up by the Mexican team for the first time to play in the 2014 World Cup in Grosseto (Italy), where he was the youngest player to participate in the tournament. To date, he has participated in four World Cups and won bronze, silver and gold medals, most recently when Mexico defeated the USA 39-6 in Birmingham, Ala. last year. Flores completed 20 of 28. He passed for 210 yards and four touchdowns.

Mexico's Diana Flores throws

Diana Flores throws a pass during a flag football match at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama last July.

(Dustin Massey / 2022 World Games)

Last fall, his exploits went viral during the college flag football tournaments in Mexico. It was the third championship won by the Borregos from Tecnológico de Monterrey, where Flores graduated with a degree in marketing and communication.

Pride overflowed at the Flores family home as members watched the Super Bowl promo for the first time, tears streaming down the faces of Flores’ mother, Josefina, and her younger sister, Monserrat.

“We have worked a lot since he was little. I never imagined this at this level; I never dreamed,” said Josefina.

Flores said her two favorite parts of the bilingual ad were when King “accidentally” opens her car door in the path of one of Flores’ stalkers, and the part where Flores speaks Spanish to the actress portraying her mother. Flores said the moment “filled my heart a lot” because it sends a message about the unity of the two cultures.

Flores’ next dream is to represent his country at the 2028 Olympics.

“It will be in Los Angeles, where we have a large Latino community,” Flores said. But first, flag football must be accepted as an Olympic sport by the International Olympic Committee.

Flag football was recently accepted as a high school sport for the 2023-24 season by the California Interscholastic Federation in an effort to get more girls involved. In 2018-19, about 11,000 girls played soccer, according to the National Federation of State High School Assns. With the sport accepted for CIF competition, those numbers are likely to grow.

To further her career goals, Flores has partnered with SMAC Entertainment, a Marina Del Rey-based talent, music, brand and production management company that has worked with soccer stars Deion Sanders and WWE stars Brie and Nikki Bella.

“My parents were born in Mexico; I am a first generation American. Being a Latina was very important to me,” said José Díaz, his SMAC representative. “But most importantly, what attracted us to be part of our list is that it will follow the model of our clients. Our talents don’t like to stay in one party, they don’t want to be just athletes, actors or musicians, they all have different interests, they are breaking barriers. And that’s what Diana is doing.”

And, Flores hopes, what other women can do by following her example.

“I want to remind all girls and women that you are powerful. You are strong. You’re smart,” Flores said. “You’re capable of anything you put your mind to.”

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