Sports Culture Stories: Meet the Spanish Voice of LAFC

Photo: Gustavo Ortega

Photo: Gustavo Ortega

Gustavo Ortega (@GustavoA_Ortega)

LOS ANGELES, CA - In barely his second year as the official Spanish radio play-by-play broadcaster for Los Angeles Football Club, Armando Aguayo has become the “Golden Voice” for the team and the Latino community. 

Aguayo was born and raised in the city of Irapuato, Guanajuato in his beloved Mexico. He decided to come to Los Angeles in the year of 1989, just to have fun and visit family but fell in love with the city. 

“I stayed to try to learn English and I promised my father and mother that I would go back in six months, but it’s been 30 years and I haven't even learned English, so I haven't gone back home yet,” he said jokingly to the Fantasy Sports Cave.

Back in his hometown, he began his journey carrying cables and equipment for one of his idols, El Rifeno, a big-time soccer announcer who used to call all the games for Irapuato F.C.

“I fell in love with his voice, his patience, and the passion he put into every soccer game,” Aguayo recalled how he decided to become a sports broadcaster. “I wanted to be just like him and here I am,” 

Since the year 2000, he has been working in the media industry mostly on radio. He began his career at Radio Unica, doing player interviews and eventually became the place where he obtained his first opportunity to be on air.

Even though he already had experience in media, getting into the industry here in Los Angeles was pretty tough back then. He remembers knocking on the door of many different radio stations and despite the experienced he had from what he did in back in Mexico, most places wanted to see more involvement in local companies.

Photo: Armando Aguayo via Facebook

Photo: Armando Aguayo via Facebook

Knowing the circumstances, Aguayo decided to start from scratch and began by going to school to get his broadcasting credentials.

“I went to school and studied at Santa Monica College for two semesters and a half,” he told Fantasy Sports Cave. “I applied for my diploma and license in broadcasting, and thank God I passed the test.”

In 2004, he got his first radio play-by-play job at KWKW 1330 AM, the company where he has been working since then. 

“The manager there asked me if I could do the games for Atlas,” Aguayo said. “I did those for two years and that’s when I got hired.” 

Later in his career, Aguayo became the color commentator for the LA Galaxy, where he was part of the broadcast for eight years before becoming the official voice in Spanish for the cross town rivals, Los Angeles Football Club.

Photo: Gustavo Ortega

Photo: Gustavo Ortega

While working different sporting events Aguayo had the opportunity to meet Seth Burton, the current manager of communications for LAFC, and introduced himself to him. Eventually, time reunited both of them to work together.

“I told him, if you are looking for a play-by-play announcer then I can be your guy and he told me I was going to be the guy but that was two years before the team was announced,” he said as he reminisced about how he landed this once in a lifetime opportunity. “I thought he was kidding just to get rid of me, but eventually he called me two days before the start of the inaugural season to let me know I got the job.”

Before every game, Aguayo raises his fists and tells himself “let’s do this”, makes the sign of the cross and says he thinks about the people he loves especially both of his parents, the ones that are always with him in his heart and mind.

“Every time I go call a game, it feels like the first time,” he mentioned his emotions during game days. “I still get goosebumps and nervous, but it’s such a beautiful feeling that never gets old because I get to do what I love.”

One of the things he looks forward too when goes to the Banc of California Stadium is seeing the LAFC fans, who show him a lot of affection.

Photo: Gustavo Ortega

Photo: Gustavo Ortega

In regards to the soccer culture here in Los Angeles, Aguayo says that when he got here there were no soccer fields, only baseball fields. He remembered that they had to ask for permission to play. Even sometimes they were rejected or they charged them a lot just to play the game of soccer. 

“The World Cup of 1994, it helped the sport bloom into what it is today,” Aguayo said. “Since then there are plenty of soccer fields and it has become more accessible to play.” 

Also, Aguayo believes that LAFC has been a successful team so far because of the people and organization around it. This franchise was built for the people, and the diversity has been a major part of what makes this club unique because you have different races and cultures just singing and cheering the whole game for one team.

When he gets to broadcast from the Banc of California Stadium, and before starting, he loves to walk around the field, and smell the fresh grass, but most importantly he likes to admire the great fan base that LAFC has.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, they receive you with open arms,” he told FSC. “They treat you like family, and it makes you feel warm as soon as you stepped into the stadium.”

You can listen to Armando Aguayo every LAFC home and away game on 980 AM La Mera Mera. 

“Hopefully soccer becomes the number one sport in this country,” Aguayo expressed his future thoughts about the soccer culture not only in this city, but also in the nation. “Now you see boys and girls from different ages playing the game everyday and that will help the sport grow.”