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Interview #40- Miguel Gonzalez
Miguel Gonzalez is a Mexican professional soccer player, currently signed to Miami FC who compete in the USL Championship. Gonzalez, a technical and flashy forward scores goals at will. Starting his career and early life in Mexico, Gonzalez moved to America for high school. From there, Gonzalez played for Peninsula University and became a star. In two years, Gonzalez set the school record for all-time goals. The forward then transferred to Seattle University and continued his successful college career. He also made appearances for PDL sides, Seattle Sounders u23 and Kitsap Pumas. Gonzalez then signed his first professional contract with the Colorado Switchbacks. After two seasons with the Switchbacks he moved over to the OKC Energy and scored a bicycle kick that shook the soccer world. He is now on Miami FC and a part of their inaugural USL Championship side.
1. Born in Mexico, raised in Yelm, Washington, what was your youth career like?
I mostly played in the Mexican league or as it’s also known Sunday league. I started playing there against adults at the age of 12. I think that gave me good experience and helped me develop well because the competition was pretty tough.
2. How were you initially recruited by Peninsula College?
I was seen in a high school playoffs game. I scored 4 goals in that game. That caught the peninsula coaches attention. I wasn’t expecting to play college but going to the peninsula was the most important decision of my life because it opened the opportunities later in my career.
3. At Peninsula, you set the single-season and career goal scoring while only playing there for two years. Describe your experience at Peninsula.
I learned a lot there not just on the field but also in the classroom. Main lesson was that school and the sport go hand in hand. Doing well in the classroom allowed me to get a scholarship to continue playing at a higher level
4. After two years at Peninsula, you transferred to Seattle University. What was your reasoning behind the move?
I had a few offers from different schools, some were division two and NAIA but my main goal in life was to play soccer professionally. In order to achieve that I felt like a division 1 school would give me a better chance of accomplishing that goal
5. In Seattle, you exceed. Scoring 15 goals and recording 35 points in your senior season. Overall, how was your college career?
College was amazing. I met some great friends and coaches that influenced me in a very positive way which helped me as I made the move to play professionally. We had some great seasons and tough moments that helped us learn to get better. Overall, I had a great college career which I’m always grateful for.
6. Looking back, what’s your favorite memory from your college days?
Looking back I would have to say that my favorite moment would be playing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Creighton University. We were the underdogs but we went to their place and beat them on a snowy field. I had two goals that game which made it even more special.
7. While in college, you appeared once for the PDL side, Seattle Sounders u23. What did you learn while playing in the PDL?
PDL is a great development league. There have been a lot of great players that have played in the PDL and now play MLS or in Europe. I think it’s also a good way of exposing players to potentially get seen or signed to a professional contract. You never know who is watching and what they are looking for. I’ve heard this so many times throughout my career. It always takes me back to my high school days where I scored those 4 goals and was recruited to peninsula. What I’m saying is try to always be prepared and do your best at all times to be ready when you get that life changing opportunity. It could give you a path in life you would never imagine.
8. After college, you trialed for the Seattle Sounders then signed with PDL side Kitsap Pumas. What were these experiences like?
My short trial at the sounder was incredible. I got a taste of what being a professional was like and learned a lot from the players. You had players like Obafemi Martins, Chad Marshall, Kenny Cooper and Gonzalo Pineda amongst others, who were the true definition of professional. Their work ethic was incredible and taught me why those players are great and at that level.
It made me want to keep pursuing the dream of earning that pro contract and that opportunity was at kit sap pumas. Interestingly enough the coach at kit sap was also my coach at peninsula so it was like a reunion
9. After time with the Pumas, you signed for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. How were you feeling after signing your first professional contract?
It was amazing when I signed my first professional contract at the Switchbacks. It felt like all the hard work and dedication I had put in had finally paid off.
10. You became a star in the professional world with the Switchbacks. Amassing 16 goals in your time with them. How were you two years with Colorado?
Like I said it felt amazing to sign my first pro contract but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to keep getting better and prove that I belonged in the league. Thank god we had a great team and we were able to do well in both of my seasons there
11. How did you handle the leap from college to professional?
I think the time at the sounders helped me prepare for the transition from college to professional. I saw how much faster and technical the players were. It also gave me that confidence that I could play at that level because I was able to keep up and do well playing against some great players.
12. In 2016, you signed with the OKC Energy, the team of your brother, David. What was it like to play professional soccer with your brother?
I think playing together at the professional level was always a dream for both me and my brother Daniel. When we had the opportunity to make that happen we took it. We were always very close growing up and it was a proud moment not just for us but for the family to see us playing together.
13. In your first game with the OKC Energy, you scored a bicycle kick. Describe the emotions you had when you started off with a bang for your new club.
Playing with my brother made my time at okc a little more special. But overall it was a great experience. I was able to score that bicycle kick goal that went viral. It was cool to see that so many people saw it around the world.
14. Overall, how was your time with the Energy
My time at Miami FC has been great so far. We did have a lot of success last year but we are not done. I think we have a great opportunity to show we belong in the usl and that we can have success in this league. The coaches have done their job putting together a strong team now we have to go do our job and get results.
15. After two years with the Energy, you signed for Miami FC. Since then you’ve won an NPSL Championship and were a part of their inaugural USL Championship side. How has your time been with Miami so far?
My little big brother Daniel Gonzalez, because he is taller than me, is one of the biggest reasons I am where I am now. We pushed each other to get better on and off the field everyday. Having him to compete against helped us elevate our game, since we were always trying to outdo each other.
16. What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I think people that don’t know me may think I’m serious or stand offish, but I’m a big jokester and easy going.
17. If you could sit down with three people from around the world and have dinner, who would they be and why?
Ronaldinho, Messi, and Dave Chappell. I think we would have great conversations and learn a lot
18. Any last words for the readers?
A lot of young athletes ask what it takes to play professionally. It really comes down to work, dedication and discipline. Most importantly I make sure they know that it's tough and you will get a lot of no’s but when you do get the yes, be ready. Most importantly enjoy it and have fun.
Big thank you to Miguel for the amazing interview! Truly means the world. A cool, down to earth guy, Miguel is a fantastic player and an ever better person! Best of luck this upcoming season!
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