Guest Post by Omar Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Galaxy:
Last weekend I was meeting with fans at an AT&T store in Carson when one asked, “Which of your accolades are you most proud of?” I wrestled with this question for a few seconds and a bit hesitant, let him know I appreciate each of my individual recognitions equally.
“One MLS Rookie of the Year, one MLS Defender of the Year, one MLS Cup MVP,” the fan rattled off.
“What about team accolades?” he continued. “One NCAA championship, two Supporters’ Shields, two MLS Cups.”
I guess I understand why he quantified this list. After all, soccer is a game of numbers, points and percentages. I let him know I definitely appreciate each of those accomplishments, but think there’s a lot more to this list than titles and numbers.
Yes, numbers play a critical role in soccer. Consider the nine points the U.S. Men’s National Team will aim to pull down in the next three qualifying matches. However, it is more than a game of #’s. That’s numbers, not hashtags. It’s also a game of unrivaled emotion, competition and history.
I grow more aware of this each time I pull my jersey over my head. And when it comes to emotion, I’m honored, eager, anxious and humbled to represent my team every match.
In fact, while I’ll miss my home pitch, I’m honored to temporarily trade in the white, dark blue and gold for the red, white and blue, and represent another team, the ultimate team. I’m eager to train, learn and compete with some of the best talent out there. I am anxious about what to expect in the coming months and – with any luck – next summer. Finally, I am humbled to add to this history and potentially, the list above.
So, if the fan is open to quantifying accomplishments after my schedule opens up a bit, I’m game. Although, I hope my list is a bit shorter at that point.
“One passionately, hard-fought and historic run to the World Cup.”