Category Archives: Louisville City FC

COVID-19 & missed U20/U19 MNT callups

In these times of uncertainty, we sincerely hope everyone is safe, healthy and most of all, enjoying some down time with family. We would like to take this opportunity to share some recent family anecdotes which initially appeared to be disastrous, but are proving to be beneficial. We hope you find them comforting and perhaps they help soften the impact of the current Coronavirus adversities however those may be affecting your personal lives.

One of the hardest things that the Gomez’s have had to adjust to in the past year has been living away from our oldest children (especially Johan). Yes, technology facilitates certain things but you can’t change others such as the time difference. Although both Johan and Jogo left home when they were 16 and 13 respectively, they were both within a manageable driving distance from us (if they ever needed us). Also, we would see them at least once a week and when we did, we were ALL HAPPY; we miss that. Nowadays, we see them once every 2-3 months and it becomes especially worrisome (nostalgic even) in turbulent times like the ones taking place now.

Johan being in a country where the COVID-19 confirmed cases climb up exponentially every day, far away from us, makes us feel helpless. Honestly, it’s a humbling feeling that tests our patience thresholds. Yes, we worry sick about him because in the end “that’s what us parents do best“. On the other hand, Jogo being twelve hours (driving distance) away, seems to be within reach if an emergency comes up but he’s still far. In the end, we trust that the Lord will guide them appropriately.

If you happen to have your children close to you (more so during these challenging times), give them a hug, tell them how much you love them and reminisce about life events with them. Go through old pictures/video together. Not all of us are THAT fortunate right now. Before you know it, your kids will be gone building their own legacy and chasing their own dreams.

I will start closing this post on a positive note. Although football is full of sacrifices as some would say; it’s also full of rewards, ironies and some fortune. Sometimes luck is on your side yet others it isn’t. See, in less than two months, Johan has been called up twice for different U20 MNT camps and guess what? He has been unable to attend either. Some would say, that’s terrible luck (maybe so). For the first camp in January, as you some of you already know, he was injured just days before he was scheduled to fly out to Florida. In hindsight, the unexpected additional down time gave him and his friends time to give birth to another life project: Chumchat and discover perhaps another talent. The second U20 MNT camp (in Portugal) was cancelled a couple of days ago and although Johan was disappointed, he recognizes that this down time will present new opportunities once again. In the end, football is only a small part of our lives right now and we must seize each day. “Carpe Diem” Johan until the next opportunity, then, be prepared.

Last but not least, Jogo was invited with the U19 MNT to Spain for an international tournament. As a family, we were looking forward to enjoying watching the boys represent the US crest simultaneously. Unfortunately, the tournament also got cancelled. While that was unfortunate, Jogo is using the unexpected additional down time to continue excelling in his new high school and familiarizing himself with his new life in Louisville. We try to teach the boys that in the face of adversity, it’s how you bounce back that determines the ultimate outcome and molds your character.

The Gomez’s are resilient to “bad luck”, adversity but most of all, remain hopeful that there will be brighter times ahead of us. For all of you, stay resilient, healthy, and faithful out there. This will inevitably pass and life will return to “normal”. Make the best out of these times. Until next time. #theGomezWay

1 John 5-5

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

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Jogo’s new crest with two stars

The expectations

Football has allowed the Gómez’s to visit and experience some amazing places domestically and internationally; in the process, we have met some wonderful people. We are beyond grateful to football for those opportunities. In this particular occasion, we visited yet another historical place packed with pleasant folks. After the initial remote interactions with the Louisville City FC staff, we were confident that we would finally encounter hospitality, honesty, genuineness, openness, and the appropriate development setup for Jogo…and sure enough, Louisville did not disappoint.

The airport

My fathers’s favorite sport was not football; it was boxing. I became a boxing fan at an early age mostly because of him but also because my home country produces its share of good boxers. I remember watching boxing every Saturday night with my father; he’d ask me trivia questions about the sport so I became very knowledgeable at a young age. All that said, when the trip to Louisville materialized, the last thing that crossed my mind was Muhammad Ali’s hometown. However, as soon as we landed in the Louisville Muhammad Ali airport, I felt I had gone full circle in a small (but very intimate) part of my life. My dad would have been happy.

Jogo and mom at the Muhammad Ali airport 03.04.20

The folks

From the moment we received confirmation of the trip until the last handshake; we felt welcome; the hospitality was incredible. It’s not often parents get an opportunity to talk openly to the head coach (especially one whom we admire) and much less his staff (the assistant coach and the goalkeeper coach). They made us feel welcome…special. We were not just a number. Is this how it’s supposed to be? Thank you. In addition to the coaching staff (and in no chronological order), in our first trip, we met the vice president of operations, the club president, the academy director, the public relations team, the chaplain (and his wife), players (Sean, apologies since we were in a rush), etc. Everyone was so genuinely kind and welcoming. Words can’t suffice. They say Texans are famous for their southern hospitality…don’t know, what we experienced that weekend outdoes anything we have witnessed before. We know we landed at the right place.

The stadium

Are you kidding me? A 65 million dollar facility with a capacity of up to 14k fans. It’s not every day that a USL team has its own brand new football dedicated stadium. Being part of the inception of a project magnifies the satisfaction and was a factor in our decision. The attention to detail is incredible; from the shape of the stadium to the locker room soccer tennis area. It’s well thought-out. It’s also not surprising that the folks who made us feel welcome are the same folks behind this magnificent design. The two main supporter groups will be ecstatic. The tifos and smoke bombs setup; everything is built with a purpose. The Lynn Family stadium will be inaugurated by Louisville City FC on April 11th. We are looking forward to an environment packed with supporting fans on our third visit; we have never experienced an environment like that in North Texas.

The Gomez’s at Lynn Family Stadium 03.05.20

Pre-season

Having the flexibility to accompany the team to pre-season was the cherry on the cake. Jogo not only had a chance to interact, train and play with the team in Louisville but also traveled with them to Florida to further validate any potential on-the-field development uncertainties. While there, he played a scrimmage against a very talented DC United side and defended some very good players. Get well soon Paul. We need you back on the USMNT.

Jogo defending Paul Arriola in pre-season 02.06.20

The city

In two quick pragmatic trips with packed agendas, we achieved everything we wanted except perhaps more sight-seeing. We’ll be back, there’s no doubt about that. We did manage to use at least one of the famous beautiful bridges that go across the Ohio River (to cross to Indiana to go to Target).

The weather

Is this how cold it’s supposed to get? Texas winter wind surpasses this any day. We experienced beautiful days for football with (guess what?) no wind and we loved it. Incidentally, the colder weather and the quicker speed of play of the team helped Jogo with what he embarked on right after Louisville City FC pre-season.

The farewell

In an already gloomy afternoon (Kobe’s news), the time came to say goodbye. It had to be quick because Jogo needed to return to “his business” and the quick adieu helped. Mom was sad (extremely sad). Everything we have seen far exceeds our expectations; we know deep in our hearts this is where he belongs. Yet as we head back to the airport, a natural sudden nostalgic feeling rushes in. The sadness is exponentially exacerbated by the gloomy cold Sunday night. Feelings are strange and we can’t explain them sometimes; for now, we must manage them. There is no doubt this is the next logical progression in his career. We know Jogo will embrace it with open arms because he is surrounded by an excellent team. Seize the day son. It is time to continue shining.

Jogo with teary-eyed mom