Andreu Fontàs shares his experience living in Kansas City and finding a home away from home in the city. Follow along with our Hispanic Heritage web series and get to know more about some of our Spanish speaking players. Para leer en español haga clic, AQUÍ.
Andreu Fontàs, a talented Catalan player, has left his mark on Sporting Kansas City over the last five years. His story is a testament to how Kansas City has become a second home to him. From his childhood in Banyoles, Spain, to his debut at the La Masia soccer academy and his time in the first team of FC Barcelona, Fontàs has built a solid soccer career in his native country before making the jump to Kansas City.
The decision to move to the United States with his wife and then ten-month-old daughter was something Fontàs had been discussing with his family for a long time. He had always liked the MLS style of play and dreamed of getting here one day.
"Sporting Kansas City made me a very good offer, a little earlier than I thought, but I talked to my wife and at that time we had a 10-month-old daughter, and we thought it was a good time for us three to move to the U.S. ".
“We had talked before that it was a place that we would like to go, so I think it was a perfect moment and I didn't doubt it, and I still say today that it was one of the best decisions of my career, the best.”
Upon arriving in Kansas City, Fontàs found a great community and support system both on the team and at the club. The friendships he has forged here have been instrumental in his adjustment. Despite the challenges of moving to a new country, Fontàs has always felt supported and protected by his surroundings.
“Everyone we met welcomed us very well,” Fontàs commented. “From the first day we felt that everyone wanted to help us. I don't know if they saw that we were coming from very far away, just the two of us, with my wife and a little girl. I don't know, the truth is that we have always said this is a home away from home, with our neighbors and the people from the club. The Club also helped us a lot in the beginning. They make it easier for you to adapt well and the truth is that it was a very quick, very good adaptation and that surprised us. I think we came with a bit of expectations to say, ‘let's see how we adapt and see how it will be’ and I think from the first minute, we knew that we could be very, very happy here as a family and that's how it has been."
In 2020, Fontàs and his wife welcomed his second daughter. With the birth of his second daughter in Kansas City, Fontàs experienced a unique duality: one daughter born in Spain and another in Kansas City, a reflection of the two chapters of his soccer life.
That year was a difficult time for everyone, the pandemic altered the world and for many that time took them away from their families. That was the case for the Fontàs family, they could not travel to visit their relatives and although it was a difficult time, they never felt alone thanks to the community they built in Kansas City.
“[Kansas City means] A lot, especially because our second daughter was born here, in 2020 in the midst of COVID, and all the craziness,” Fontàs said. “No one from our family could come. It took our family six or seven months to meet her because they couldn't travel, nor could we travel. That was all crazy, but being so close to our neighbors, to our people here, from Kansas, I think we have almost like another family outside of home. Everyone helped us a lot during that time, even when everything was complicated, we couldn't travel and well, it is a very, very special place for us. I don't know how much longer - hopefully a lot - we will be here playing, but I am sure that in the future, when I retire, it will continue to be important in our lives. We are going to be here for a long time.”
After five years in the city, Fontàs has become a leader on the team, able to communicate fluently in both English and Spanish. This ability has allowed him to establish a special connection with all of his teammates. Fontàs moves between the two languages with impressive fluency, several times answering questions for the Spanish-speaking and English media.
“I’m a veteran on the team, 5 years, you assume that role a little because you feel the team respects you” Fontàs said. “And if I have the advantage of mastering both languages well, I feel prepared to do so, to help new people who do not speak English so well. In the case, for example, Dany [Rosero] this year who, did not speak any English, I always try to be close and help him, translate and in the end, it is for the good of the team. It is a role that I like to assume. I believe that I assume it because I consider that my teammates respect me and accept me. Because of that I feel comfortable enough to be able to do it. If you do not feel important, if you do not feel valued by your colleagues, I think it is more difficult or at least it would be more difficult for me and in the end it is nice for me to be able to do it, to be part of this group, this team, from this club, this city, this community and I am happy to be able to continue doing it for a long time, hopefully.”
That skill and fluidity was something Fontàs wanted for her daughters and was one of the reasons he decided to move to the United States. Fontàs is constantly surprised by how quickly his daughters absorb languages. At home they speak Catalan, at school they speak English, and, thanks to their community, they are also learning Spanish. The ease with which they move between languages is astonishing and a source of family pride.
“It is incredible, and you realize how easy it is for children to learn and that is why, as I told you, it was important for us to come here. I believe that what we are giving them is a tool for the rest of their lives, the fact of having practically three languages at 5 or 6, 7 years old is incredible and I think that can be very good for them in the future.”
The Catalan player is clear that he wants to stay in Kansas City for a while. Regardless of what happens in the future in his sports career, the city means a lot to him. Here he has found a solid community, his second daughter was born in Kansas City and his connection to this city is forever. Fontàs is grateful for the support he has received, and he wants to give back to the community that has welcomed him with open arms.
Fontàs' story is a testament to how soccer can unite people from different cultures and countries. His experience in Kansas City has been transformative, turning this city into his second home. With his leadership of the team and his love for the community around him, Fontàs has left a lasting mark on Sporting Kansas City and in the hearts of all the fans who support him.