ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Growing up in Cuba, the older boy preferred playing soccer. The younger brother liked baseball. As teenagers, for somewhat random reasons, they switched.
Both became pretty good, navigating personal tragedy with the death of their father, Jesus, and the upheaval of fleeing Cuba for Mexico, to play professionally.
Even better, they are now doing so in the same town.
Randy Arozarena has already made it big, bashing his way through the 2020 postseason as a slugging outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays. Raiko Arozarena is trying, the wiry and athletic goalkeeper signing last month with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the United Soccer League.
Both are excited for the unexpected opportunity to spend time together, to see each other play, and to share their successes.
“It’s been good to have him by my side,” Randy Arozarena said.
“A dream come true,” Raiko said.
In Mexico, their mother, Sandra Gonzalez, shares their joy.
“Seeing that they have been able to accomplish their goals as athletes despite so many sacrifices and limitations in their lives, it makes me so proud,” she said.
Even more so, Gonzalez said in comments relayed and translated by Aileen Villarreal of the ISE agency, which represents the Arozarenas, because of the example the brothers set for kids who aspire to do the same.