By Derek Eng
He may be a senior, but midfielder Abraham Gomez of the Cal Poly Pomona men’s soccer team finds inspiration in a surprising source: freshmen.
Playing on a team out of playoff contention, Gomez has found solace in taking on a caretaker role in the Broncos’ soccer program and the freshmen players have responded well.
“Even though we have had our ups and downs, struggles and frustrations, I have learned from the freshmen and they learn from me,” said Gomez. “They push me every day, every week to just keep on working and work for the future of the program.”
Gomez does more than just lead with his words. The Chula Vista native leads the Broncos in goals and points scored and was rewarded for his stellar play, earning CCAA Player of the Week during the season’s opening week.
Gomez, the lone CPP soccer player to receive the honor this season, said Player of the Week is something he has had his eyes on since he first set foot on campus.
“Unfortunately, I had a couple of injuries so I wasn’t able to accomplish that goal, but thank God I am injury free this past season and I was able to achieve it,” said Gomez.
Junior forward Matt Boudreau commended Gomez for his effort on the pitch, giving his all game in and game out.
“Every time we practice he is the leader on the team who represents the captain and the team well,” said Boudreau.
Boudreau said Gomez is an excellent player who knows the game really well and manages it even bet ter. He also said playing next to him improves his game, improves morale and technicalities.
Gomez said he has played at high levels, so he is satisfied with where he stands now. He wants to focus more on his academic goals after focusing on soccer for the past four years.
What drives Gomez to keep improving is continuing to practice. He said it helps to come out every day and give it everything he has to be a better player and a better person.
Erik Garcia, the Broncos’ interim head coach, said having Gomez as a player is amazing and that the senior definitely stepped up to be a leader this season.
“I was looking forward to working with him when he was my recruit back in 2009-2010 because of how talented he is,” said Garcia. “He is so technical; he makes good decisions; he loves the game, and he plays with a lot of intensity.”
Garcia said after losing a slew of experienced players to graduation, Gomez’s new leadership came at a time in which the Broncos need it most.
“Last year we had 17 or 18 seniors who all graduated and were replaced with freshmen,” said Garcia. “Gomez stepped up to be a leader and a teacher, which takes a lot of patience because he is a guy that is driven by wins and losses.”
Following the departure of the graduating seniors, Gomez became the captain of a team in rebuilding mode. Garcia praised Gomez for never using that as an excuse to short change the rest of the team.
“The wins and losses on the field reflects how hard the team works,” said Garcia. “It is hard for a team in the rebuilding period to get the wins they want, but with the way these guys compete day in and day out, they sell out every time.”
When Gomez is on the field, it is no wonder teammates and coaches feel more comfortable. Gomez’s smarts, vision and obvious talent do all the talking.
Brittany Ritzi/The Poly Post
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