Soccer player receives scholarship

RISING ABOVE — Husky Kevin Gomez works the ball in a 5-0 shutout against Long Beach City College at ELAC on October 21. CN / Joseph Recinos

By Liliana Marquez

Kevin Gomez never expected that soccer would give him another opportunity to start over after receiving a scholarship into Kansas Wesleyan University. Gomez was offered a full scholarship to KWU after finishing two years playing for the Huskies soccer team as a forward.

Gomez, 20, was born in Bellflower and lived in Michoacan, Mexico for 13 years. While living in Mexico, he had to work and go to school to help support his family. “There were some days where I did not go to school because I had to work.  I had to help my mom support our family,” Gomez said.

Once Gomez came back to the United States, he attended Morningside High School where he played soccer for four years. According to Gomez, his junior year playing for the Monarchs was the most outstanding of all.

He ended the season with nine goals, two assists, 24 shots and 20 points, helping the Monarchs end the season with an overall record of 12-7-2 and a league record of 5-4-1. For him, senior year could have been better, but he suffered a knee injury that prevented him from playing to his fullest potential.

Gomez had decided that after finishing high school he was not going to keep studying, but East Los Angeles College’s Assistant Coach Felipe Bernal convinced him to come to ELAC and try out for the soccer team.

“I have known Kevin since high school. I saw his qualities at the beginning, so I told him that I could help him to go college, but it was his decision at the end of the day,” Bernal said.

He said that his two years playing for the Huskies were hard, but they were also a great and unforgettable experience. “My second year was a good experience, but not as good as the first year. I had a lot of problems and my head was not really into the game,” Gomez said.

He got arrested in May 25, 2010 after being caught selling drugs, and was put on probation on June 17, 2010. “I did it because my mother was not working and I wanted to help her support my family and to stop worrying about money,” Gomez said.

Even though he had a lot of problems, the help of his coaches and his will to never give up helped him overcome these obstacles. During his two years playing for ELAC, Gomez scored a total of 18 goals.

In 2011, he was captain of the soccer team and guided them into the first round of playoffs where they were defeated by their South Coast Conference rivals, the Long Beach Vikings.

He also earned a place in the 2011 SCC All Conference First Team along with teammates Galo Moreno and Juan Escobar.

Gomez ended the 2011 season in the top ten of the SCC men’s soccer individual statistics with eight goals, six assists and a total of 22 points.

One of his biggest dreams since he was a kid was to become a cop. That is one of the reasons he accepted the scholarship, because of the Criminal Justice program that the university offers.

For Gomez, receiving this scholarship has changed his life and it has given him another chance.  “Kansas, unlike the other schools that showed interest in me, is willing to help me with my problems. That is another reason of why I decided to attend there,” Gomez said.

Gomez plans to accomplish a lot of things while being a Kansas Coyote. “I want to accomplish more than what I did in ELAC. First of all,  I want to make it to the team, be on the starting line up, go to playoffs and be champions,” Gomez said.

He admits that soccer is the reason of why he got this opportunity and he plans to take full advantage of it.

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