Senior Spotlight: Catrina Gonzalez
Shahar Syed: Hi! Welcome to our weekly athlete spotlight, weâ€™re here with Catrina Gonzales.
Catrina Gonzales: Hello!
Shahar Syed: Letâ€™s get right into the questions, When did you start playing soccer?
Catrina Gonzales: I started playing soccer when I was approximately eight years old when I started playing AYSO and started playing clubs since I was ten; and ever since then Iâ€™ve been playing soccer.
Shahar Syed: What got you into soccer?
Catrina Gonzales: Actually my siblings are into it, and I just thought I enjoyed running, so why not give it a try!
Shahar Syed: What do you like about soccer?
Catrina Gonzales: I like that its a very passionate sport its not really required how much skill or ability you need, itâ€™s mostly your heart. At the end of the day which ever player or team has more heart usually ends up on top.
Shahar Syed: What position do you play in soccer?
Catrina Gonzales: For high school Attacking center Mid or Forward, and the same like wise for club.
Shahar Syed: Whatâ€™s the most important trait to have as a Attacking Mid?
Catrina Gonzales: You have to be a good ball distributor, fast and being able to get out of difficult situation, so kind of have some tricks in your bag and skills and know how to use it to your advantage.
Shahar Syed: How have you developed your tricks in your bag in the past years?
Catrina Gonzales: Just always juggling on your own, in order to become a better athlete you need practice on your own, so after practice or days off going out in the backyard and juggling, or hitting the ball against the wall or practicing moves and getting better.
Shahar Syed: You told me before you play on a club team right?
Catrina Gonzales: Yeah
Shahar Syed: How did you get involved with the club?
Catrina Gonzales: Well first, I started with the club at 7 years old. My mom got approached by this guy who was starting a new club team, DUWE, the head coach was apparently good and his name was Mike Hammond, so I joined I was able to make the cuts and stay on the team and the program. Unfortunately that club sort of died out. But our team stayed together, so we moved to a new club called Manchester United. I was still with my same coach, and there was difficulty with that. So we moved to another club called Freedom FC, with the same coach and majority of the players still there, and after that, majority of the girls were older so there were only a handful of girls that were younger on the club team, so after those people had graduated, my coach got an offer to coach the Irvine Strikers ECNL this new program. So he had asked me and this other girl to join with him.
Shahar Syed: So youâ€™ve had one coach pretty much during club?
Catrina Gonzales: Yeah
Shahar Syed: So how does he influence you?
Catrina Gonzales: I kind of see him like my dad in soccer, heâ€™s always been my coach. I couldn’t ask for a better coach, heâ€™s one of the best. Heâ€™s taught me how to be so skilled, in the beginning I was probably one of the worst players, and he would always pick on me and say, â€śCat you need to do better, you need to improve,â€ť and in many situations most people would take it as criticism and be like,â€ť Oh my gosh I suck, and I hate soccer and I don’t wanna do it,â€ť but I took it more as a challenge, like Iâ€™m going to prove him wrong, Iâ€™m going to keep going. With my motivation and my attitude it took me where I am now.
Shahar Syed: Can you tell me a specific story where a coach helped you
Catrina Gonzales: He has a different type of personality, so he doesnâ€™t really like to compliment. For him complimenting you is when he doesnâ€™t criticize you, and he never is in a mean negative way, heâ€™s just kind of a straightforward type of guy, heâ€™s like, â€śYou need to fix this, this needs to happen,â€ť so I need that simple straight forward guy. And especially that heâ€™s a male coach I think helps a lot, because many female coaches might get too emotional or too caught up in the game, and you need someone straight forward and tell you. And kind of that scary figure like, â€śOh you have to be good,â€ť like heâ€™s a very buff african american guy, so heâ€™s kind of intimidating. I remember my first couple of practices, I would never talk back to him because I was so scared of him.
Shahar Syed: Can you tell me more about the Irvine Strikers
Catrina Gonzales: Itâ€™s an ECNL team; itâ€™s higher than premier. Itâ€™s kind of like an academy team, where itâ€™s only you play other ECNL teams, so say for example, my team, the Irvine Strikers, there may be other age groups and levels. The levels can range from bronze to premier, but this is a higher program, which is ECNL, which is separate.
Shahar Syed: How many days a week do you practice
Catrina Gonzales: I personally for my club team I practice twice a week for two hours, but I also do weight training on the side which is every other day, so usually I go five days a week for training, and that doesnâ€™t count for the games on the weekend.
Shahar Syed: How many hours?
Catrina Gonzales: Two hours
Shahar Syed: What inspires you to work so hard?
Catrina Gonzales: I just believe if you love something and you kind of get some talent in there why not go for it? Because there are so many cases where they have the passion, but they just don’t have the skill. Itâ€™s just unfortunate, or you have the skill and you’re not passionate for it, so you kind of need that combination
Shahar Syed: What was your favorite game youâ€™ve played in and why?
Catrina Gonzales: Oh thatâ€™s a hard one. Thereâ€™s just been so many cases of winning games and stuff. I donâ€™t know there are so many to think of.
Shahar Syed: Take me to your shoes before a game, whatâ€™s going on in your head, are you nervous?
Catrina Gonzales: I usually like to zone out, and be quiet, and just think before my game. I wake up, I usually don’t want to eat anything heavy, so something light, maybe like half a banana, or something like that, get a quick glass of orange juice, and I just get into a mental zone. Iâ€™m just quiet on the drive there, I just have some music on and daze off thinking of the game and the opponent, and what I can do what kind of skills I can do to beat players, and how itâ€™s worked before, and like my strengths and weaknesses.
Shahar Syed: What do you think is the biggest misconception of soccer?
Catrina Gonzales: I just think people mostly think itâ€™s, â€śGo kick a ball and have fun,â€ť Â but there is so much into it. Itâ€™s like a chess game, you have to be prepared for the next step and you have to think of it instantly. Every second is a second decision, and you can either make a good one or a bad one. But that good thing about soccer is, say you make a bad one, you can make it up with your hard work. Say you lose the ball you work twice as hard to run down slide tackle and get that ball back.
Shahar Syed: Do you watch soccer?
Catrina Gonzales: Yes
Shahar Syed: Do you have a favorite team?
Catrina Gonzales: I usually like mostly the teams, like the world cup and stuff. I was actually going for Germany, it was very, â€śYay!,â€ť that they won. Of course you want to go for the US because itâ€™s your country, but realistically I knew Germany would be kind of the one on top. Theyâ€™re just so strong and so cool it seemed like no one else could compare.
Shahar Syed: What are your goals in soccer?
Catrina Gonzales: Well I want to play in college soccer, Iâ€™m hoping to actually make that come true shortly. Just go from there, and play my heart out in college, and get an education and do what I love to do.
Shahar Syed: Do you know what college you want to play for
Catrina Gonzales: Most likely Biola University.