Akela Banuelos is in a relationship with U.S. men’s national team forward Paul Arriola. He has tallied four goals for the team in international competition, including one to scoring in a 4-0 victory Tuesday versus Guyana in the Gold Cup opener.
The couple is very publicly dating, as they are consistent presences on each other’s respective social media platforms. In addition, they run a Youtube Channel together called “Kickin’ It with Akela and Paul,” which follows his exploits for his MLS club DC United. He signed a deal with the club in Aug. 2017 for $3 million after four seasons with Club Tijuana of Liga MX.
Many of Banuelos’ Instagram posts locate the couple in Washington, including her last one at The Kitten Lounge, a place to play with rescue cats in the D.C. area. This doesn’t confirm that she lives with Arriola in D.C., but her presence there indicates that it’s a strong possibility that she does.
Both posted in late May about their 1-year dating anniversary, with Arriola stating on May 22 that “today marks one year with this beautiful woman.” In her own post, she wrote “I love you more than words can describe. 1 year down a million to go.”
While both currently spend a lot of time in the nation’s capital, both look like they originated in Southern California. Arriola was born in Feb. 1995 in Chula Vista (Calif.), which is in the San Diego area. Meanwhile, Banuelos calls Los Angeles her hometown in her Facebook profile.
Arriola’s time for the national team has brought him to Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, which is just south of Los Angeles and where the Los Angeles Galaxy play. As of Feb. 2017, she a part of the Galaxy’s organization in some capacity, as she had to “glam up for media day” per a post.
She also earned a degree in Veterinary Medicine in 2017, stating in a post that she can be a “dentist, anesthesiologist, vital checking, a paw holder, pharmacist, a surgery assistant, a blood taking (and a) fluid starter.” She has previously worked for the Veterinary Healthcare Center in Monterey Park, as well as Hemopet in Garden Grove.
Her work in veterinary medicine brought her into contact with Jaanuu, a medical apparel brand that she shows off in her social media. She seems to have experience in modeling, as she appeared at the Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in March 2018.
Akela will be cheering him on in the second match of the Gold Cup Group Stage Saturday, as the USMNT tries to get revenge against Trinidad and Tobago (8 p.m. EST, FS1).