A LITTLE-KNOWN family history has led to one of the USA’s most-recognised players making himself available for Latin American Rugby League’s representative team.
After revealing he was born with the surname of Munoz before being adopted at one month old, Curtis Cunz joins the GYG Latin Heat for the May 21 USARL Nines in Philadelphia.
“I know next to nothing about my biological parents, aside from they were young and had problems with drugs,” says Cunz, a 24-times representative of the USA.
“My mother’s surname was Munoz – she was part Mexican and part American Indian – and that’s the name I was born with.
“Cunz comes from my adopted family and that’s a German name. They are the only family I have ever known.
“My older brother Clint insisted my parents adopt me because we had the same sort of dimple on our cheeks.”
Cunz said the only other facts he knew about his early upbringing were that he was born in Sterling, Illinois and that his biological father was African-American.
Previously owner and captain of the Connecticut Wildcats, the powerful utility was the USA team’s ambassador at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, meeting Prince Charles in the process.
“I will play anywhere that I’m needed,” he said of his involvement with the Latin Heat.
“Whatever is good for the team.”
Among the competing teams said to be appearing at Philadelphia on Saturday, May 21 will be Canada, Jamaica, West Papua and a NSW Indigenous team.
The tournament will be the first time since forming in Australia in 2013 that the GYG Latin Heat has fielded a team entirely of Northern Hemisphere-based players.
With more than 50 million people of South and Central American heritage living in the USA, the Heat see the nation as integral to growing the game among Latino populations worldwide.
Games will be held at Garthwaite Stadium, Conshohocken, beginning at 10am and concluding around 7pm.
LATIN HEAT USA – Preliminary Squad
AYALA, Edgar (El Salvador)
AZUCENA, Miguel (El Salvador)
CHAVEZ, Randy (El Salvador)
CUNZ, Curtis (Mexico)
DOMINGUEZ, Willie (Puerto Rico/Dominican Republic)
GALDAMEZ, Joey (El Salvador)
GRACIDA, Frankie (Mexico)
JASSO, Juan (Mexico) – captain/coach
LAING, Jaden (Chile)
LOPEZ, Josue (El Salvador)
NOESIS, Franklin (Dominican Republic)
PAREDES, Jonathan (El Salvador)
QUIROZ, Edwin (Mexico)
QUISPE, Daniel (Peru)
ROBINSON, Corey (Cuba)
TORRES, Elmer (El Salvador)
TORRES, Luis (Puerto Rico)
BURGIN, Robert (Manager)
** The Latin Heat will also help stage the first ever 13-on-13 match between two Latino nations when Chile faces El Salvadorat Newtown’s Henson Park on June 11 in Sydney. Curtain-raisers will feature Colombia v Ecuador and Peru v Uruguay. **
The efforts of the 100% volunteer-run Latin Heat Rugby League are supported by Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taquerias, S.H.I.E.L.D Security, Tattoo Tears, OneBigSwitch.com.au, Jani-King Cleaning, SeriousAboutRL.com, Rugby League Team Manager 2015 computer game, Retrocom Digital TV Specialists, Colombianos en Brisbane, Link Australia Student Services, Raw Juicery, SEMCAR Mechanics, Lichtnauer and Associates Accountants, Cabramatta Ink, Majestic Property Maintenance, and Darkside Studio Photography.