9-year-old chosen as princess of Venezuelan sport, kickballing

Valeria Figueiras and her mother Yohannis Ruiz, a kickingball player, at Nelson Mandela Park, St James. Photo by Roger Jacob
Valeria Figueiras and her mother Yohannis Ruiz, a kickingball player, at Nelson Mandela Park, St James. Photo by Roger Jacob

Valeria Figueiras is a nine-year-old Venezuelan girl who is TT’s first kickingball princess.

She doesn’t play the sport yet, and her role is more of a cheerleader. Her goal is to have her own YouTube channel.

Valeria got a start on this when she shared how she was chosen to be the princess for her mother’s kickingball team.

Kickingball or kickball is a women’s sport that’s a mix of baseball and football that Venezuelan migrants introduced to TT in March.

Valeria Figueiras with the Las Galacticas kickingball team that chose her to be their princess. Photo by Roger Jacob

Valeria’s mother Yohannis Ruiz plays for Las Galacticas, a local team that nominated her to be their princess for the opening of the first TT kickingball competition at Constantine Park, Macoya on May 1.

Since they arrived here three years ago, Valeria always accompanies her mother to play sports at the Nelson Mandela Park, St James.

While exercising there one afternoon, Ruiz saw a friend who was practising kickball and invited her to train with the team for the competition. The team needed a princess and one of the players proposed Valeria. From that moment, Valeria’s closeness with the team grew, becoming like one more member of the group.

At the tournament, she competed with seven girls from other teams. Her charisma crossing the field captivated the judges and she was elected as the princess of the tournament.

Valeria and her mother are from Tucupita, Delta Amacuro state, Venezuela.

Ruiz was a merchant, she sold a little of everything. She also had an animal protection foundation.

In TT, she is a dental assistant at a clinic in Woodbrook.

Valeria is an animal lover. In her country, she helped her mother with the animals at the foundation.

Valeria said she likes modeling, which was easy for her when she presented herself to the public for the competition.

Valeria Figueiras enjoys playing at the park while her mother Yohannis Ruiz practises kickingball at the Nelson Mandela Park. Photo by Roger Jacob

She also enjoys picnics at Mandela Park which is why visiting there makes her happy.

Valeria wants to be a YouTuber. Her favourite is Lina, a Spanish YouTuber who tells stories about her day-to-day life.

“I like to do fun things, make people laugh, sing and entertain people,” Valeria told NewsdayKids.

For her, being in TT is a chance for a better life.

“I thank God and the people of this country who have given my mother and me the opportunity to be here, to have a home and to be able to visit the parks where I have a lot of fun,” she said.

Valeria Figueiras was named TT’s first kickingball princess at the launch of a tournament at Constantine Park, Macoya. 

She hopes in the future to be like her mother, an athlete, and above all a loving woman.

“I love my mom. She is always with me, supporting me and giving me her blessings,” she said.

Valeria does not forget her relatives in Venezuela.

“I would like to return to my country, visit my family, share with them and teach them a little of what I am learning here,” she said.

For now, she supports her mother who continues to play kickingball and hopes that the team, Las Galacticas wins the tournament, just as she won the crown to be its princess.


"9-year-old chosen as princess of Venezuelan sport, kickballing"

More in this section