Yesterday, North Texas SC (NTSC) would have played its first home game of their season at their new venue: Globe Life Park in Arlington. Unfortunately, the pandemic delayed those plans. Just like us last year, we know many families and players were looking forward to that event but the time will soon come. It is probably most unfortunate for those who are aging out or leaving the academy as that exposure was priceless for our boys. When they made their respective NTSC debuts, our entire experience of the next progression of the game changed.
See, today marks the one year anniversary since Johan made his pro-debut with NTSC and although his participation with the team was ephemeral, he loved every moment of it: playing and training with a different set of teammates (including his brother) and coaches, a higher level of professionalism (including coaching), and of course a more advanced level of the game. Here is how that went down.
Although both boys had been practicing with NTSC since pre-season, Johan’s invitation to play (and debut) did not come until the sixth game of the season. It was the first away game for NTSC. The U18s/U19s DA busy schedule (DA season and Dallas Cup participation), the lack of depth at the #9 position with the U18s/U19s and the schedule conflicts between DA and the NTSC delayed his debut.
All things considered, we knew Johan would make his debut sooner or later and were hoping for a home game debut. However, when we received the news about Johan’s inclusion to the roster (expected as we had had a recent chat with FC Dallas technical staff) we were bummed that it was an away game: Greenville, South Carolina. As usual with the club, most communication took place last minute and under normal circumstances that wouldn’t have left much time to buy plane tickets. To be fair, that wasn’t the reason we weren’t at the game. At the time, I was undergoing some medical issues which required hospitalization. That prevented me from traveling. Jogo, on the other hand, could have flown by himself but he was scheduled to be away with the national team.
Instead, we subscribed to ESPN+ immediately after learning that Johan was starting. As you will see from below, it turned out to be a somewhat uneventful game with a fortunate goal by Thomas Roberts in the 17th minute. The whole game was somewhat uneventful with Johan trying to get used to a “new” team with very few opportunities inside the 18th. He almost scored in the 49th minute but honestly we feel that Greenville should have at least tied this game. In any event, the Gomez’s were thankful for the opportunity and knew that more opportunities would come our way since Johan had been doing well in DA.
We didn’t have to wait long for Johan to score. The next weekend, he gave mom the best mother’s day gift he could. His first professional goal helping his team make a comeback from a 1-0 deficit early the second half.
Here is a picture of Johan and proud mom after the game:
A lot of things have changed for NTSC and Johan in the past year; regardless of the direction each has taken, Johan and family have very fond memories of our time there. More importantly, the friendships will last forever. Thank you NTSC and FC Dallas.