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Latino ESPN researcher goes from Little League to World Cup

By Timothy Morris
El Nuevo Tennessean

Imagine being a passionate soccer fan on a dream trip to the World Cup in Brazil. You are paid to be there because it is a part of your job. Imagine that and you have stepped into the life of Antonio Rusiñol, 27, senior researcher at ESPN Stats & Information Group.

The group does analytics for ESPN Deportes, providing advance statistics for game coverage – ratings, rankings and material that doesn’t usually appear in box scores.

“It’s really a dream come true,” Rusiñol said, “because ESPN was my first real dream job, just because my No. 1 passion is sports.”

A native of Argentina, Rusiñol spent his adolescent years in Canada. His family moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, where he attended Science Hill High School.

Rusiñol played baseball and soccer while in high school: outfielder on the baseball diamond and midfielder on the soccer field. But before playing in high school, he was a Little League Baseball all-star with a high level of competitiveness and a flair for the dramatic.antonio.rusinol.maracañ

ETSU associate professor William Hemphill, a family friend, remembers one Little League game in particular.

It was July 2000, and Rusiñol’s Johnson City National All-Star Little League baseball team played a team from Lexington, Tennessee, in the second game of the state tournament.

After two consecutive home runs, Rusiñol stepped to the plate and delivered a third-straight home run, virtually sealing the win in the first inning.

“Twelve-year-olds are funny like that,” Hemphill said. “They’re pretty competitive. He silenced the bench and showed that the Johnson City team was serious about winning.”

Sports, especially the game of soccer, have always been a part of Rusiñol’s life. One could say that the love for the game is in his blood.

His family instilled that love for sports through stories like the one about his grandfather, who would become physically ill if his beloved Boca Juniors, an Argentinian football club, ever lost a game.

Rusiñol worked at a men’s clothing store while he was in college. After graduating with a degree in international commerce, he returned from a visit with family in Argentina to find an online posting about a researcher’s position in the ESPN Stats & Information group…

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