“You have to go where the opportunities present themselves”
Jonathan Gomez’s father talks about the call to the United States Sub20
Work, sacrifice and patience is the name of the game, and for Jonathan Gomez the result is the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
The Mexican-American soccer player from Real Sociedad had to leave his family and the comfort of his home from an early age, in addition to living in three American cities and two different continents to pursue his football dreams.
Jonathan Gomez chosen to represent the United StatesDave Bernal/ISI Photos/Getty Images
But the end justified the means. Gomez will play in the U20 World Cup with the United States starting this Saturday until June 11.
He said in an interview with ESPN, “Being called to the World Cup is a great source of pride and the truth is that it is the fruit of a lot of sacrifice by the Gómez Mendoza family.”
Gomez is a 19-year-old defenseman, the son of Mexican parents born in Texas, who took his first steps as a football player in Fort Worth when he could barely walk.
He went through the FC Dallas academy before moving to Kentucky with Louisville FC, where as a 16-year-old teenager he was already playing professional second division with adults.
His youth success attracted clubs from around the world, until he made the jump to Europe with Real Sociedad de San Sebastián in Spain.
“At age 14 I moved away from home to live in Frisco (north of Dallas) with my brother so that I could train and play in the FC Dallas youth system,” he recalled. “It was a huge sacrifice from our side. Also from my parents as their children left home at a very young age”.
“Then I moved to Louisville,” he said. “And then further. It was not around the corner now and it was in the time of COVID, which complicated everything. But always looking for the development of my football career.”
Thanks to her good upbringing and values, Gomez has been able to dribble an equal number of obstacles on and off the court; Including the temptations of youth.
He has also had to discipline himself for the extra preparation that any boy who intends to reach the highest level has to do as a way of life.
“It takes a lot of discipline to learn to be alone what an athlete needs: good nutrition, medical prevention; Generally good decision making.
“Besides, football is not an easy job, it requires a lot of discipline and mental strength.”
The US Under-20 coach knows him well. He was her coach with FC Dallas Under 15s and was part of the coaching staff that made Gomez’s debut at the age of 16 with the first team in 2019 in a friendly against Zolos de Tijuana.
“Jonathan is a player with great natural talent who has given maximum thanks to his work and discipline,” said the coach. “He’s a defender who can move up and down throughout the game to establish himself as another attacker. He’s always had great character and energy.”
Varas recognized that the United States had the talent to compete for a championship, with a roster that experienced all levels of professional soccer in and out of the United States, including 11 footballers who had been selected for the senior team on various occasions. has been called upon; Some even with more than one country.
Gomez himself has been part of the selection process for the United States and Mexico. Just last January, he played 90 minutes with the senior team as a starter against Serbia and Colombia.
Gerardo “Tata” Martino called up Gomez and made his debut with the Tricolor in April 2022 for a friendly match against Guatemala.
“One of the things that the experience of playing with both teams left me with is learning to accelerate the adaptation process,” he explained. “It’s not easy playing for different technicians, but it has helped me learn different working methods, to adapt faster, which has helped me in my training, especially in Spain.”
The United States is one of only three countries to have qualified for the last five Under-20 World Cups, along with New Zealand and Uruguay. It is in Group B alongside Ecuador, Fiji and Slovakia, where it will seek to become the first country to reach at least the quarter-finals in three consecutive editions of the tournament.
“I know it’s a unique and highly demanding experience,” acknowledged Gomez. “We have huge ambitions to make history. We take it step by step and it all starts from the first match.
He said, “I know that no matter what happens, I will grow a lot as a person and as a player.” “That’s one of my goals, I want to come out better than I went in.”