En la medida en la que la temporada de LouCity llegaba a su final, nosotros teníamos la fortuna de tener a Jogo en casa antes de lo anticipado. Fué muy placentero convivir con él (aunque de forma muy limitada) efímeramente ya que su siguiente aventura no podía demorar. De hecho, la rápida proliferación del Coronavirus aceleró algunas de las actividades que teníamos planeadas con él.
Es recomfortante saber que Jogo todavía tiene deseos de entrenar conmigo. Sin embargo, era mejor que se mantuviera activo en un ambiente grupal especialmente si los rumores de que la temporada de USL-C demoraría su reanudación en el 2021 llegasen a ser ciertos. No me malinterpreten, me fascina entrenar con Jogo. Hacerlo inmediatamente me transforma en un mejor mentor y espero que él todavía se beneficie de mis enseñanzas. De hecho, una cosa es muy cierta, cuando Jogo entrena conmigo, Joana tiene una motivación extra para la práctica del fútbol y así continuar su ascenso.
Afortunadamente logramos entrenar por algunas sesiones y trabajar en unos pequeños detalles técnicos y tácticos los cuales habíamos querido pulir desde hace rato. ¡Quedaste listo hijo!
Jogo pasó la cantidad adecuada de tiempo con nosotros para celebrar un año más de Halloween. La verdad estuvo bastante divertido ya que fué algo muy espontáneo.
Como muchos ya han observado en uno de los episodios de Chumchat, no somos una familia “Golfista”; pero eso va cambiando poco a poco. Mientras Jogo estuvo con nosotros, nos escapamos a jugar a Topgolf con la familia. De hecho, debo confesar de que quedé en último lugar pero vale la pena resaltar que lo mejor fué haber convivido con TODA la familia. Le da tanto gusto al chamacón involucrar a Kammie.
Estas son lozas pesadas pero paulatinamente hemos desarrollado entereza . En realidad, Joana nunca se acostumbrará pero sabiendo que regresarás a casa nos consuela.
Te extrañamos como no tienes una idea pero sabemos que estás tratando de forjar un futuro. Nunca te des por vencido que desde acá te estamos apoyando. Se humilde, manténte sano y nos vemos cuando nos toque volver a vernos. Recuerda que el virus no discrimina. Ten mucho cuidado hijo. #theGomezway
El invitado de honor de la semana pasada fue nada más ni nada menos que Paxton Pomykal. Entérense de sus razones por las que juega “el deporte de las masas“. También nos comparte el progreso de su rehabilitacion y al final del episodio selecciona a 5 de sus cuates pamboleros para una cáscara imaginaria.
When an opportunity arises for a teenager to play football away from home, there are very few parents who can afford to drop everything and accompany the player in such pursuit. We continuously hear that young footballers and their families sacrifice core family experiences to “chase the football dream” away from home. The narrative behind those sacrifices typically involves generic terms/phrases such as family, friends, finances, education, and an overall support system normally provided by a place called “home”.
But what does that mean? Well, it’s all relative; see, moving within the United States beats having to relocate to another country and that will be part 2 of this post. Similarly, moving within the same state beats moving across time zones. For now, let’s talk about the Gómez’s most recent experience.
Earlier this year, we embarked on a new football adventure and as prepared as we thought we were thanks to Johan living in Portugal and after having both boys live an hour away in Frisco for years, Louisville threw a few curve balls at us.
Jogo has always been a solid student (what can we say as his family right?). Well, he regularly takes AP classes, is learning a new language and overall holds himself to a high standard academically. In his first move to Frisco, he went from a Christian learning setup to a secular one. As expected, the quality of instruction at the FC Dallas mandated schools was significantly lower but ultimately free of charge. On the bright side, those schools were more diverse in many aspects and we loved that. Jogo made the best of his time there and to be honest, he suddenly had access to other extracurricular activities that his small faith-based school didn’t have. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to participate in any of those due to football training restrictions.
Back in February of this year, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky which forced him onto an online high school setup due to practice times. Remote learning as a sophomore wasn’t ideal but it’s what the circumstances necessitated. While we are very satisfied with the online setup our family found for Jogo; it’s less effective than onsite learning which is what empirically works best. However, COVID ultimately changed a lot of learning platforms this year for everyone. In hindsight, one could argue that Jogo had a head start with remote learning when it came to self-paced education.
As most of you know by now, most online learning setups involve a ton of work for parents. In our case, we have an adequate amount of time to devote to that activity but not every parent does and thus, consider that time commitment if going this route. Jogo is thriving at school with an online setup but the motivation to do academically well isn’t ever going to stem from the team staff and much less from his classmates like it was at the FCD’s brick and mortar schools. Sometimes Jogo has to dig deep and be extra resourceful to stay on top of his academics whose activities don’t always align with LouCity football activities. Consider the player’s self-motivation (grit) aspect carefully when choosing an online setup. Similarly, the high school social aspect is lacking in a remote-learning environment as important events such as PROM, and a regular graduation will never take place for Jogo…other more banal activities he’s missing out on are attending football games or simple stuff such as just sitting down to eat with his non-football friends in the school cafeteria on a daily basis…
Jogo has to cook everyday. While it’s a very useful life skill; it could be very time consuming and of course something to factor into a decision by the family. We are fortunate enough that Jogo has enjoyed the culinary arts from an early age. Mom enjoys cooking and teaches him remotely (makes videos) so it has never been a chore for Jogo. He finds cooking very therapeutic. However, as a teenager, eating three (or more) daily meals could be a financial blow for the parents of a young player who doesn’t find cooking appealing, has a limited desire to learn or for a player who dislikes grocery shopping as eating out gets expensive quick.
Jogo grocery shops about twice a month and it has proven to be logistically challenging where he lives in Louisville. We thank his roommate, LouCity’s Chaplain, and Uber as without them, it would be extremely difficult to purchase food (hot or cold). Be aware of transportation needs as you embark on a new football adventure for your teenager. Will a car be needed? Is there public transportation? Louisville has public electric scooters (Lime) which are fun and practical rides for short distances but just like eating out, using them gets extremely pricey quick.
When Jogo moved to Louisville (and up until now), he didn’t take a car with him. We made that calculated decision because the apartment where he stays is near the training facilities and Lynn family stadium. Both are within a walking/biking distance from his residence but sometimes the weather inclemency make it difficult to do either. As a result, he rides with his roommate or other teammates for football related activities. This however, poses a challenge as there are times when he has to be at the training facilities or stadium earlier/later than his roommate/teammates so he must hike. The additional exercise is great for a young athlete given Louisville beautiful weather; however, 2020 has brought some unique social-political nuances to several US cities, among them Louisville, which make walking a questionable choice and living so close to downtown Louisville hasn’t exactly been a blessing.
As most of you know, Louisville has been severely impacted by socio-political events in 2020. At times, it was worrisome to have our then 16-year old son be within walking distance from all the daily protests (which sometimes turned violent), police presence (blaring helicopters, curfew enforcing activities, etc.), and everything that came with those events. As a family, we prayed and hoped for the best especially when Jogo had to walk through some of it on his way to/from football activities. We learned a lot from the past few months.
One would think that common sense can keep somebody safe but that’s not always true. Jogo’s inexperience and “look” sometimes kept us up at night as he navigated through a new city. We understand socio-political protests and demonstrations are somewhat random but there are cities (even countries) that are historically more prone to those events than others. Do your homework and make a holistic decision for your player. The player’s safety -on and off the field- when making a decision to go play away from home should be paramount.
Other safety uncertainties (not unique to Louisville) that 2020 brought with it were health concerns. As if having your teenager a thousand miles away wasn’t enough, COVID happened. To be fair, we are somewhat thankful for it as it kept people off the streets in downtown Louisville (well, to an extent). Jogo started undergoing frequent COVID tests, and LouCity’s medical staff did what it could to keep everyone safe. Jogo did an excellent job at staying in his “bubble” and not having a car helped a lot. All of a sudden, other medical aspects of his health turned secondary but they shouldn’t be neglected.
It’s never ideal having your teenager miss doctor’s checkups. I mean, going to see the family doctor, dentist, chiropractor, optometrist isn’t really the same when one is a thousand miles away from home with no car and limited support from the people around you. Make sure you do your research and locate medical staff for your player near the location where he’s staying. Jogo’s location in Louisville proved to be a bit too difficult to locate nearby medical staff (outside the team’s) for our insurance carriers so when he returned home recently, we immediately took him to every possible doctor since he needed to embark on his next opportunity.
In summary, there will be many sacrifices that a family and player will have to endure to pursue any dream with professional aspirations…professional sports just happen to start at an earlier age. In the end, any life decision will involve some level of risk; however, make it a calculated risk by trying to remove as much uncertainty as possible AND more importantly remove it from the player’s already full plate. The players need to focus on “on the field” stuff as much as possible.
Ask questions, talk to current/former players, young player’s parents and definitely team staff. Know that in the end, there’s no unique way to “chase the dream” and everyone’s path is unique. Understand that each person will give you their version of their truth and you as a family will have to consume, process, and make a decision based on that information. We hope that blogs like this one continue helping football decisions for the betterment of the sport.
Please reach out to us if you ever want to know more about any of our experiences and the paths we are pursuing for our kids. We don’t write every detail of our experiences for obvious reasons and there’s more that meets the eye. We are always happy to help: email@example.com. Until next time. #theGomezway
The chums continue producing quality content for the football community. This week’s guest is QPR’s Charlie Kelman. He’s not only a clinical U20 MNT pool striker but also a very humble teenager. Although he never played for the FCD touted academy, he has a great relationship with FCD current and former players. In the podcast, he was asked about “the game” where he scored 4 goals against the FCD’s pre-academy team after being turned down by FCD staff to join the academy. He also talks about his aspirations, dream club and as every other guest on the podcast defines success in a very family-oriented type of way.
People frequently ask how we make time to maintain this blog. Well, it’s definitely time-consuming but it’s equally rewarding being able to help other families, and players going through similar phases in life as we currently are (or once did). It almost feels like the sense of satisfaction when volunteering our time. However, it’s also very therapeutic. Let me explain…
Most families could relate to the fact that watching our own children go through the peaks and valleys of youth competitive activities could be stressful. The beginning of professional football is no different (more so when it’s double-duty like in our case) and it’s a shorter duration endeavor which amplifies the importance of those ups and downs. Sometimes, we -Okay, just me- treat this blog as a shrink, once I start typing, I cannot stop until I “rationalize” football events. Today is one of those days and off we go with another set of anecdotes from the weekend hoping you find them useful.
The pre-weekend started really well for the Gomez’s with Joana placing second in her cross country district meet. Sure the near win and her PR time were important self-confidence boosters and even bragging rights but to Claudia and I, developing a love for a beautiful “life-adding” activity like running is more valuable…more so, in uncertain times like the ones we are living in.
The weekend continued its inexorable course but it brought its share of bad news/adversity to our family; it did so not only in the win-loss category, which in a team sport should have a confined impact, but also in the health regard.
LouCity ended its season last Saturday at home against a combative Tampa Bay Rowdies team. The 13 game undefeated streak (8 straight wins) had to come to an end and unfortunately, it ended during the Eastern Conference Championship game. Great job by the team, staff, fans and the entire organization. In the end, there can only be one winner but it’s reassuring to know that good organizations develop a winning tradition and there’s no doubt the successes at LouCity will continue for years to come. Unfortunately, those successes will not be with the same roster, staff, etc. but the winning ways, if learned well, can be permeated to the next endeavors of each individual’s lives. So we must move on and maintain a very short memory in this football business.
Porto B had a difficult task at hand against the best team they have faced this season: Chaves. We must admit, Chaves looked like a team with real aspirations to the first division. The visiting team took the initiative and possessed the ball in the first 15 minutes. After that, the game was very even with Porto B scoring the first goal but playing a man down since early in the first half which ultimately proved too difficult of a task to overcome. The 1-2 loss was unfortunate but more so was the fact that Johan picked up a knock whose impact will be known later this week. His 6-game starting streak could be affected. On the bigger scheme of things, he’s one of the strikers of the U20 MNT pool getting consistent minutes so the impact could be worse assuming that U20 WC qualifying remains “a thing”. Let’s hope for the best.
She had the weekend off due to inclement weather in the area but the highlight of the weekend was her birthday. Despite some football adversity, it was great to have Sunday all to ourselves just to celebrate it with her and put football aside. She loved the lettering on her new airpods.
I will end this post on a pair of positive points. Below is a video of Joana the day she turned 4 years old. God knows there have been many good and not so good times since the day we filmed it. It’s always good to reminisce…especially the good times. Pictures and videos help us do that especially now that the boys are living away….time flies…enjoy your kids as they will inevitably be away from you before you know it. Don’t wait any longer, take and record silly pictures of your kids…or better yet start a blog, it’s self-therapeutic.
On a less nostalgic side, there are different positive activities coming up for the family. Stay tuned and more importantly stay safe as the weather turns colder. #theGomezway
To finish the post on an even more positive note, Johan and the chums continue to produce quality content and their views and subscribers seem to agree. This week’s guest is Jessica McDonald, FIFA World Cup winner, NCAA Women’s Champion at UNC. She’s trying to make the Tokyo Olympic squad for next year. Her journey through adversity is unique and worth listening to her definition of success. She is the first female guest on the podcast and one that you just can’t miss.
Es fundamental para familias y jugadores entender que el fútbol es una actividad emocionalmente volátil. Produce sentimientos opuestos en lapsos muy cortos. Un día te encuentras saboreando las mieles de la victoria y al día siguiente, viendo al rival celebrar. La paciencia y perseverancia son atributos importantes para lidiar con momentos tan cambiantes. En nuestro caso, uno podría asumir que Johan nos preparó muy bien a la adversidad ya que la temporada pasada tuvo una lesión grave que lo alejó de las canchas y nosotros a miles de kilómetros de poder brindarle cuidado. Y para ser honestos, la volatilidad vivida recientemente en la familia, no fué tan dramática como lo describo arriba, más sin embargo la semana pasada se alejó mucho de lo común.
La semana pasada FC Porto B jugó su primer partido de la temporada 2020-2021 y nos encontrabamos felices de que Johan fuera parte de la plantilla; sin embargo, por situaciones diversas, no tuvo la oportunidad de jugar (algo raro). De hecho, en el transcurso del juego, FC Porto B cedió un gol tempranero, y el jugar de visitante en una cancha brava tampoco contribuyó a que Johan pudiera ingresar al terreno de juego. Johan es muy inteligente, mentalmente fuerte y entendió a la perfección el planteamiento táctico del cuerpo técnico dadas las circunstancias del encuentro. Por otro lado, en Louisville, Jogo recibió los llamados minutos de “manejo de juego” en la victoria contra St. Louis. Nosotros lo vemos muy bien, fuerte, participativo, entrón, atrevido y probablemente debió de haber marcado gol. El equipo se encuentra en una excelente racha con su cuadro titular asi que ¿porqué cambiar lo que les está funcionando?
A la tercera Jogo le fué un poco mejor. Jugó uno de sus mejores partidos y tuvo una asistencia pero su equipo terminó perdiendo siendo ampliamente superado por el rival. Irónicamente, el equipo de Joana había dominado al mismo mismo rival tan sólo una semana antes…esas son las cosas que nos brinda el fútbol. Como familia, reflexionamos y aceptamos las lecciones aprendidas ese fin de semana y bueno, nos preparamos para las oportunidades venideras. “El fútbol siempre da revanchas” y eso fué lo que sucedió este fin de semana pasado.
“Los mejores éxitos suceden después de los mayores fracasos” – Henry Ward Beecher
Todo empezó el Viernes a mediodía con la primera competencia interescolar a campo traviesa de Joana. La temperatura era la ideonea y aunque no logró establecer un record personal, cubrió el trayecto de forma eficiente y terminó en primer lugar de su escuela y séptimo en la general. Fué un curso difícil (con pendientes pronunciadas y súper lodoso) pero al final nos representó muy bien.
Las buenas noticias continuaron el Sábado por la mañana (+6 horas in Porto). En una tarde típica lluviosa de Porto, Johan no nada más estaba en la plantilla una vez más pero en esta ocasión iba de titular ante el favorito FC Vizela en casa. De hecho, el Presidente del FC Porto estaba en las gradas presenciando el juego. Ese tipo de vitrina no se da todos los días.
Johan tuvo 40 minutos muy buenos y estuvo involucrado en cada uno de los tres goles en la primera parte. Su segunda mitad fué más para manejar el partido. Esta es su asistencia que derivó en el penal para el segundo gol.
Lo que se robó el show para nosotros fue la jugada sublime que terminó en el tercer gol del FC Porto B. El primer toque dirigido y la definición fueron exquisitos. Felicidades hijo.
El Sábado continuó siendo benévolo para los Gómez ya que Jogo registró su cuarto juego como titular con LouCity. Sus duelos aereos han mejorado muchísimo, su presencia técnica y táctica también va madurando. En general, está aprovechando sus oportunidades y manteniendo un mentalidad de aprendizaje. Línea por línea el equipo es muy talentoso y el sigue peleando por minutos y contribuyendo cuando se le require. El equipo lleva una racha invicta de 9 partidos y ya casi aseguran un lugar en la liguilla. De hecho, el partido de mañana entre St. Louis e Indy es crucial para sus aspiraciones.
Ya el Domingo, el fin de semana terminó de forma excelente con Joana. A pesar de jugar una nueva posición con tendencias más defensivas, tuvo una asistencia en un juego importante en Houston. Las inclemencias del tiempo jugaron un papel importante pero aun así jugó muy bien. Estamos empezando a ver el principio de algo especial con ella y nos alegra lo que le espera si se sigue aplicando. Hay mucho trabajo por delante con toda la tribu Gómez pero necesitamos ser pacientes y perseverar ante toda adversidad. Sin duda, habrá tiempos complicados en la vida de cualquier atleta pero con el apoyo de la familia y amigos, esos tiempos difíciles se convierten en lecciones de vida efímeras. Así es #theGomezway
Ya para despedirnos y en un tono más ameno, disfruten del último episodio de Chum Chat. Judson, Tanner, y Johan invaden las cuentas de Instagram de dos jugadores del ciclo de la selección sub-20 de Estados Unidos: Cole Bassett y Kevin Bonilla. Es uno de los episodios más cómicos y uno que no se van a querer perder. Estos chavos tienen una química impresionante y le damos gracias al fútbol por haberles otorgado esa amistad tan especial que tienen.
It’s important for families and young players to understand that football is an emotional (sometimes draining), volatile endeavor. One day, you are enjoying victory at the top of the pinnacle and the next you are tasting the sourness of defeat. Patience and persistence are key resilience characteristics to prevail. In our case, one could argue that we were well-prepared for adversity since Johan spent most of last season (thousand of miles away from us) injured. Honestly, the recent volatility we experienced wasn’t as dramatic as described above but let’s be honest, last week was far from ideal for the Gómez’s…
FC Porto B had their first game of the 2020-2021 season last week and we were happy that Johan made the 18 (celebrate small victories, right?); unfortunately, he didn’t get to play. FC Porto B giving up an early goal, and playing an important away game didn’t help his cause either. He’s strong mentally and understood it to be a tactical move given the flow of the game. Meanwhile, at LouCity Jogo received some “game management” minutes in their “do or die” victory against St. Louis. He looked really energetic and daring in his short cameo and should have had a goal. LouCity is in a hot streak and honestly, why change something that is currently working.
The third Jogo fared a little better and played one of her best games having an assist but her team lost in a lopsided defeat by a sister club team. Ironically, Joana’s team had previously dominated that same team a week earlier (volatility). That’s the way the game goes sometimes. As a family, we moved on and prepared for the next opportunities to rebound and that’s exactly what happened this past weekend.
“One’s best successes come after their greatest disappointments” – Henry Ward Beecher
It all started Friday at noon with Joana’s first Cross Country (CC) meet. The temperature was great and although she did not set a personal record (PR), she ran a new course elegantly and finished first in her school team (7th overall). It was a difficult (hilly and super muddy) course but she managed to represent us all really well.
The good news continued Saturday morning (+6 hours in Porto). Johan was not only on the 18 but starting against favorite FC Vizela at home in a typical rainy Porto September evening in front of FC Porto’s President. That type of exposure doesn’t happen every day.
Johan had 40 solid minutes; he was involved in each of the three first half goals. His second half was mostly about game management. Here is his assist that led to a PK for the second goal.
What stole the show for us was this sublime play that led to FC Porto B’s third goal. The first touch is exquisite and the finish followed suit. Congrats son.
Saturday continued with a good showing for the Gómez’s as Jogo registered his 4th start of the season with LouCity. His aerial duels have improved, his technical and tactical awareness are very solid. In general, he’s making the most out of his opportunities and keeping a growth mindset. LouCity overall is very talented all-around and he’s fighting for minutes and contributing when called upon. The team is undefeated in its last 9 games and have almost secured a place in the playoffs. Looking forward to St. Louis game tomorrow against Indy.
On Sunday, the weekend ended extremely well with Joana. Despite playing a new position which is more defensive, she had an assist in an important away game in Houston. Inclement weather was a factor but she played well. We are beginning to see the start of something special with her and are excited to see what will soon come her way if she applies herself. There’s a lot of work to be done with all of the Gómez’s clan but we need to be patient and persevere in all the adversity that may come our way. There will be rough times in the lives of athletes time and again but with the strong support of family and friends, those rough times can be ephemeral life lessons. It’s #theGomezway
On a lighter note, please have a laugh. Enjoy the latest episode of Chum Chat. Judson, Tanner, and Johan raid two U20 MNT pool player Instagram accounts: Cole Bassett’s and Kevin Bonilla’s. It’s one of the funniest episodes yet and one that you don’t want to miss. These young adults have such chemistry and we have football to thank for that friendship.
Flying would have been easier (even cheaper actually) but riskier for his and our health. Driving limited our exposure and it proved to be the best decision. We traveled 885 miles to be with Jogo and we would do it again in a heartbeat.
We took every precaution necessary so that we wouldn’t compromise Jogo’s health before, during, and even after our arrival. Driving also allowed us to bring Kammie and Chuy along. We planned it well and the end result was the best evidence. This is how it went down:
Trip to Louisville:
The trip was divided in two parts. Keller to Memphis, TN (about 8 hours) and Memphis to Louisville (about 6 hours). We left Thursday around 4 PM and made it to Louisville Friday around 5 PM. Upon arrival, and as we were unloading our stuff at the hotel, Jogo surprised us silly (Life360 is nice). Coincidentally, the Sporting KC II players were staying at the same hotel.
We found a different city than the one we left back in March. But to be honest, what city is the same now? There are many reasons (social, political, health, etc.) for the change. Every aspect of the town has been impacted especially the downtown area which is where we were staying.
That evening, after a thorough restaurant search and stumbling upon a couple of protests with many restaurants closed (either due to the protests or Coronavirus), we finally found Vincenzo’s. It’s an Italian pearl downtown. The atmosphere was okay -maybe gloomy- but you could tell business was not as usual for a Friday evening. It was important for us to support local Kentuckian businesses and we did just that. Thanks toJack Harlow(Johan) for the recommendation.
First dinner in town (Vincenzo’s):
We all had different dishes; I ended up having the famous “Ravioli con pollo, spinaci funghetti mascarpone”. Immaculate, savoring dish. Best pasta I have ever had by far. We had some time for pictures afterwards. It was a first good evening in town but we were tired…
Saturday morning went by quick…we were jaded from driving and decided to sleep in a little. The time for you to be at the stadium arrived quick; you rode with Napo. It was so encouraging to see close to 5000 fans supporting the team in these uncertain times..a good diversion. The game was what we expected; the first 20 minutes were all LouCity’s, then conceded the next 25. The second half started with LouCity possessing the ball and the goal. You came in around the 70th minute once SKCII had the possession again and LouCity was playing counterattack. LouCity should have had a few more goals. It was so fun seeing you after the game and the fans were incredibly supportive. “Normality” had been restored at Lynn Family stadium that night.
The day started late again with a stroll down the Ohio River to take Chuy for a walk. Meanwhile, the rest of you enjoyed the “Lime” scooters. It was around noon and you had insisted on going for brunch to the “Con Huevos” restaurant off of Frankfort. For a Mexican family used to cooking and eating traditional Mexican dishes. The place did not disappoint; it was better than most Tex-Mex places we have experienced. I had their Chilaquiles. Solid breakfast for the family and good LouCity atmosphere…one of the many club sponsors.
Monday and Tuesday went by in an uneventful manner since we made our hotel room our office for the week. The morning Starbuck’s breakfasts were priceless. It was great to be able to work remotely without a single glitch but the highlight of our day was always being able to see you every day after practice.
There were no plans. Lunches, dinners, and evening activities were all improvised. Our menu consisted mostly of past recommendations from LouCity staff. It didn’t matter; the most important thing was being with you.
For the second game, we decided to drop you off. Well, you actually drove us all to the stadium. It was good to experience arrival to the stadium from your point of view.
It was great seeing you start this game in front of these amazing fans. Unfortunately, the game didn’t start they way we all wanted. The team played well, sometimes the ball just doesn’t want to go in. In the end, SKCII executed a counterattack and ended up winning the game. It happens. It’d be worrisome if the team didn’t generate scoring opportunities but those are present. As usual, the team statistically outplayed SKCII but it’s important to finish those chances. That will come. We have no doubts.
You are surrounded by your new “away-from-home” family. In our minds, there is no doubt you are in great hands. On the football side of things, you are also at the best possible place for your emotional, technical, tactical, and physical development Jogo. We have said this before but would like to reiterate it: “You are in awesome hands, make the best out of it”. The family (including fans) at LouCity are kind but passionate. You will gradually earn their respect. We were speechless how some approached you at the end of the game. #Weareinittogether
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to say hello to everyone but we’ll be back in the future. For now, here we go, we embark on 885 miles of a journey back to Texas with one less passenger but with our emotional tank full again…thank you Louisville: our second home. #theGomezway
Estamos súper orgullosos de ti hijo. Además, estamos híper agradecidos por la oportunidad…siempre lo estaremos y las palabras de agradecimiento no existen. Desafortunadamente, no se dió el resultado y no pudiste contribuir lo que hubieras queriod pero el momento siempre vivirá en nuestros corazones. Celebrémoslo como debe ser ya que un debut (en cualquier ámbito de la vida) no sucede todos los días.
No es cosa de todos los días que un jugador reciba vitrina de televisión nacional en su debut ó estrene estadio con aficionados exigentes (y alegres) al fútbol. Son cosas que se deben de apreciar. La temperatura tampoco era tan mala…tal vez la emoción de querer colaborar inmediatamente con tu equipo al verlo abajo en el marcador te traicionó un poco. Suele suceder…especialmente si tienes 16 añitos de edad. Las buenas noticias son que la lesión tan sólo fue un dormilón y ya hoy regresaste al entrenamiento. Bienvenido a USL-C hijo. Gracias a todos los que se comunicaron para preguntar por tu salud. Ahora viene lo bueno: vemos el partido una vez más, aprendemos lecciones, agachamos la cabeza, picamos piedra, y esperamos la siguiente oportunidad. Nunca des nada por hecho.
Recuerda que es un verdadero privilegio estar donde estás. Algunos jugadores quisieran estar en tu lugar jugando “el deporte de las masas” en estos momentos complicados. ¡¡¡Disfruta el momento y pronto nos veremos otra vez!!!
We are so proud of you Jogo, words can’t suffice and we must be grateful for the opportunity…will be forever. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best team outcome and you couldn’t help much either but it’s a memorable moment nonetheless. Let’s celebrate it as it must be; it doesn’t occur every day…
It’s not every day that a football player receives national TV exposure on his/her debut, or plays in a new stadium with hard core football (and jovial) fans. The temperature was not too bad either…perhaps the excitement of trying to contribute after a 4 month hiatus got the best of you…it happens…especially at 16 years of age. The good news is that it was just a dead leg and you were back in training today…welcome to USL-C son. Thanks for everyone who reached out to inquire about your health. For now, we learn the lesson, put our heads down, grind, and wait for the next opportunity. Don’t take anything for granted. Carpe diem!
It’s a privilege to be where you are. Some players wish they could be on your shoes just playing the beautiful game right now during these difficult times. Embrace the moment with open arms. We will see you very soon once again!!!
It is with mixed feelings that we write this post. On one hand, we know some FCD players and staff are undergoing a challenging (physically and mentally) phase in their careers. Our thoughts and prayers are with you (Jogo’s ex-teammates -friends-, coaches, etc.) hoping for a quick and full recovery. God is good and will see you navigate through this one.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
While disappointed we won’t be able to watch FCD games soon, we are happy that players and staff have started to shift full focus to off-the-field matters. Likewise, we feel it’s time to give things a bit of a positive spin from our perspective as well.
Last year, the same FCD first team, currently in an eight-day quarantine, provided Jogo with the invaluable opportunity to make his first team debut. We will forever be grateful to the FCD organization, coaching staff (Mikey Varas) and the players (Thomas Roberts, Bryan Reynolds, etc.) who supported his debut (know that we are praying for your full and quick recovery). This is how it all went down…
As Jogo’s productive U17’s (2018-2019) DA season was coming to an end at the expense of local foes and eventual national champions: Solar, North Texas SC (NTSC) opportunities started opening up. Seizing those up gradually led Jogo to the game against Lansing where he had two assists (see below). At the conclusion of that match, his football landscape started changing…
First, he was named to the USL-1 team of the week for the first time and more perks would come his way right after that performance…
Second, the more frequent training with NTSC continued. Jogo’s confidence soared and was at an all-time high. In fact, he felt that in the next game (following his two assist game) against Greenville, he would be part of the starting XI once again. However, on Thursday of that week, during training, Coach Eric put the starting XI to scrimmage against the subs which was customary. To his surprise, Jogo was requested to play with the subs, but he put his head down and on he scrimmaged.
At the end of the practice, Coach Eric pulled Jogo aside and informed him that he would be rostered with the first team on Sunday, July 7th in an international friendly against Liga MX Xolos. Jogo was ecstatic. The game against Xolos would not just mark the return of former FCD Coach Oscar Pareja to Toyota Stadium but also signified Jogo’s renewed opportunity to practice with the FCD first team the following day. These friendlies are not very frequent for FCD. See here.
Friday: practice with the first team:
The chance to practice with the first team will come sooner or later for a lot of young players. It did several times for both Johan and Jogo at FCD. Whenever this takes place in your player’s journey: just have fun and enjoy the moment. Don’t overthink it. The player needs to be himself/herself and not try to do more than just KISS it. Such was the case with Jogo this time and he had an excellent practice that day…
Saturday: the day before the international friendly:
I remember walking over to Toyota Stadium (from the apartment) with Jogo Saturday evening to try to watch the Xolos “open” practice. The main objective was to say hello to Oscar Pareja and watch a few of the players Jogo could be facing the next day. Honestly, we didn’t know whether Jogo would even play or not but we were just embracing the moment. “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared” – Whitney M. Young
When we arrived at the stadium’s south gate, Jogo identified himself as an FCD academy/NTSC player who would be part of Xolos friendly the next day. Both of the security guards were incredulous (given his age probably) as they refused to let us through the gates since we didn’t have any sort of IDs. I believe they were also charging $5 to watch the Xolos practice but neither of us had our wallets as the idea was to watch practice for only a few minutes and return home to rest. When I volunteered to go get my wallet from the apartment, Jogo said: “Dad, it’s okay. one day, these guys will know who I am without the need of an ID“…so we forewent watching practice…
The day went by quickly…Jogo needed to be at the stadium by 3 PM for a 6:30 PM kickoff. Since he couldn’t drive by himself yet and it was a toasty day, mom drove Jogo. Honestly, mom had no idea where to drop Jogo off and she ended up dropping him off by the South Gate. A few fans were already waiting the arrivals of players for pictures and autographs. As expected, hardly anybody (except a young, adventurous kid) asked Jogo for an autograph; I know that was very memorable to Jogo..probably more so than the Xolos game itself. Anyway, as a family, were so out of it and just playing it by ear. A few minutes later, Jogo found out in the locker room that family members could get in for free and requested tickets for us.
With the kind heart he has, he managed to quickly find out how to get us tickets (btw, the T-mobile service in the new locker room was horrendous so he couldn’t get a hold of us). However, at last, he managed to send me a text asking me to pick up 4 tickets at will-call…and on we proceeded to the game. Johan couldn’t watch this game as he was in the middle of DA playoffs.
To Jogo’s surprise, he was in the starting XI which was the cherry on top. However, that immediately could translate into nervousness. To be honest, Jogo didn’t look nervous to us; although he later admitted to be just a tad… Thus, after knocking a few balls around during warm ups, he flushed those feelings out of his system and on he went….
The Pablo Aranguiz situation:
Pablo had been very vocal about the current coach’s system where a traditional static #10 doesn’t fit his scheme. Pablo had made his disagreement evident throughout the season and as a result, his playing time had suffered. In this game, Pablo was given an opportunity to play with mostly youngsters but he was evidently not pleased about that either. He was playing as a winger (out of his normal position).
The hot afternoon did not help calm his frustration/anxiety and he had a few border line risky plays where he either tried to do too much (w/out releasing the ball) or was a bit reckless on defense. This inevitably put Jogo (who was defending/attacking on the same side) on a bit of an uncertain situation. Pablo’s frustration (along with Kobra’s) was clear and only lasted until the 40th minute. In an super reckless challenge to a Xolos player, Pablo was deservedly shown a straight red card (yes in a friendly) which forced undesired subs playing a man down. The spirit of the friendly was a bit tainted by that play. Ultimately, Kobra who was supposed to have come in for Pablo never saw any action that day.
The game turned out to be very uneventful overall (0-0) but in the end Jogo got to play against players like Erik “El Cubo” Torres, Fernando Arce, Miller Bolaños, Ariel Nahuelpan, etc. He came off the game at the 79th minute.It had been a good game for him. Next up was the friendly against La Liga powerhouse: Sevilla.
The Sevilla friendly was another level of a game which will deserve its own future post. To conclude this post, we will reiterate our well-being wishes to the entire FCD team hoping that their next activity (on/off the field) comes soon enough and that journey is as successful as playing football. As for Jogo, he is gradually pursuing the next thing in his life. We also want to wish him good luck this weekend on the next challenge he’s embarked on…. seize the day son!!! #theGomezway
Words can’t suffice to describe the feeling of having hosted you along with your brother at home (your permanent home). It’s a family luxury we voluntarily gave up a few years ago. Silver lining from the pandemia. We are thankful to the Lord for keeping you healthy and safe and also to LouCity coaching staff for their understanding. They value family time as an important emotional pillar of an athlete’s mental well being and development. During your time home, we accomplished so many things. This is how it all went down:
Everything happened so quick. Just a few hours after we booked your trip late Saturday, you were departing from a very empty Muhammad Ali Louisville airport Sunday morning.
As usual, the flight was a short one but to be honest, we barely made it on time to pick you up from the DFW airport. There was little time for pictures but we managed to snap this one.
Just like Johan’s case, the change of clothes was mandatory and immediate after meeting you. We are pros at this now. On this particular day, we were in a rush since we didn’t want your siblings to wake up and find out we were gone to the airport to pick you up.
As soon as we arrived home, it was very tactful of you to go wake them up and greet them. Your siblings were pleasantly surprised and on we went to devour delicious traditional Mexican tostadas that you had been craving. We followed that up with Sunday service. At last, we were complete once again.
Child at heart
Off the pitch, most folks foreign to your lifestyle treat you like the young adult you have become. On the pitch, fans treat you like a grown football player sometimes forgetting you are only 16 years old. To be honest, your own family sometimes overlooks that you are still a kid at heart. During your time with us, we were blessed to witness the kid within you again; it filled our hearts with joy. BTW, thanks for allowing me to be a silly kid along with you. We manufactured some great memories albeit brief. Most importantly, we are grateful because we celebrated “El día del niño” (child’s day) yet another year together as a family.
We even got to make this fun video. You will enjoy watching it:
Fortnite and FIFA:
The evenings were full of video games. I tried to learn to play Fortnite to no avail; I promise to do justice to #theGomezway when I pair up with your brother in pursuit of e-cred in your absence.
The daily trainings:
Not everything was video gaming. Both of you trained every day. You have always been very diligent, punctual and disciplined about training and school; it’s infectious. However, having your brother around served you well to take training to another level. As your parents, we are really proud to see how you continue to grow grit autonomously but most importantly the healthy ways your siblings pushed each other forming fond memories in the process. My favorite family memory was the picnics at the fields after hard weekend training sessions: priceless.
Chuy: the new member of the family
Thanks for helping us choose a new family member. It was great having everyone around to make this important family decision. You were great with Chuy, he is going to miss the football fetching sessions with you but we’ll make it a point to bring him to you.
In addition to family, friends are an important pillar of a person’s psychological development. We are glad you took the time to safely visit acquaintances, friends, et al in Frisco. It was evident those interactions “complete” you emotionally.
The best part of it all is that you accompanied us to the best Mother’s day celebration yet. Why? Well, because in México, Mother’s day is celebrated on May 10th and this year’s that day was the 2nd Sunday in May (American Mother’s day celebration). We celebrated mom double.
It was a great three weeks but the time came for you to go back. You are so excited to get the season going but some logistics must be worked out first. Be patient. You have been training adequately, doing some Cooper runs (thanks Coach Hack) and will be ready when the time comes. You almost missed your flight because you wanted to get one last additional training session with your ex-teammates.
We are sad you are gone but happy you are now back with your extended family. They will continue to take great care of you but also work you hard. The real grind starts now. Never forget where you come from or where you are going. Know that you are loved.