First generation Mexican-American Kassandra Garcia has made history in the white, male-dominated world of sports. Garcia , 27, is the highest-ranking Latina in the NFL as the football administration analyst for the Los Angeles Rams. She joins first-gen Mexican American Natalia Dorantes who became the NFL’s first Latina chief of staff earlier this year. These Latinas are slowly diversifying an industry where from Jan. 1963 to Feb. 2021 there have only been four Latino male head coaches, according to the NFL’s Diversity and Inclusion 2021 report. When it comes to women in particular, only 2.7 percent of all team vice presidents were women
of color. Women in professional administration positions decreased from 35.9 percent in 2019 to 32.3 percent in 2020, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the DeVos Sports Management Program at UCF. Of those, only 7 percent of the women in all professional administration positions were women of color.
Garcia’s rise started at the University of Arizona where was was studying for her degree in business administration and where she was a recruiting intern for their football team, the Wildcats. Her skills in Excel and accounting helped her become an analyst, USA Today Sports reported. She told the publication about the influence of her family and culture had in your upbringing that translated to her career.
It was great to witness Kurt Warners HOF enshrinement. I can't wait to come back when it's @LarryFitzgerald's turn. Thanks for waiving back! pic.twitter.com/QhFCgvNcLC
— Kassandra Garcia (@AZKG11) August 6, 2017
“Not to generalize, but there’s such a machismo, there’s such a focus on the men in our culture. But I grew up so differently. The men are served first, always, because we revolve around food. The men sit down, the women serve them. My Nana doesn’t even eat until the men get their second plate. But for some reason, my Nana didn’t treat me like that. She’d serve me along with the men.”
Latinas like the Rams' Kassandra Garcia fight for representation in the NFL. https://t.co/vCbDXYvqmX pic.twitter.com/e2cJEJ3LEI
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) August 6, 2021
Garcia’s career trajectory into the NFL can be attributed to the two most important people in her life: her nana, Teresa Matías, and her mom, Sylvia Garcia.
“As much as we focus on the patriarchs, we all know who’s really running the whole family, and it’s my Nana. Then, after her, it’s my mom.”
Garcia attended the 2018 Women in Football Career Forum and landed back in Tucson, working for the Wildcats. Rams’ vice president of football and business administration Tony Pastoors called her and gave her the chance to make history. She worked on practice-squad player contracts and exclusive rights tenders then moved up to writing the structure of the contract extensions for key players including three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald proving she had the required skills.
“I have failed so much in this life. All I’ve done is just be brave enough to step into the arena and fail.”