Tuesday’s Column: Herculez stays strong awaiting USMNT call

i-ec0ae776c892a87de6304c436e62f13a-herc0001.jpgHerculez Gomez has his sights set on a USMNT call-up. (Photo courtesy Chivas USA).

Read the column here.

Watching former Galaxy striker Herculez Gomez practicing at Home Depot Center Monday – in a Chivas USA shirt, no less – took me back a few years.

There were those unmistakable ears, but after being told he was unwanted by the Wizards and a season basking in the limelight in Mexico, this was a very different Gomez than I remembered.

This Gomez was no longer a wide-eyed kid, but a man with maturity and resolve:

“I feel like I’ve grown up so much this year,” he said. “In the off-season I didn’t know if I was going to have a job. I was by myself doing literally double days, keeping myself lean. If something did happen with a Mexican club they were already going and I needed to get going, so I was trying to catch up.

“I learned a lot about what it really takes to be a professional,” Gomez added. “I want to stay in shape. I know that nothing is guaranteed, but from my end I’m going to do everything I can to be ready (for a USMNT call).”

Here’s Gomez on the type of striker he is and why he has played out wide – not his preferred position – with some clubs:

“It just so happened that on a few of the teams I’ve played on they felt I could most help the team out wide. I guess I’m not your typical MLS striker, I’m not that all speed striker and I’m not that big player, I’m not the big number nine.

“The one thing that sets me apart (from other USMNT strikers) is I don’t really fit any protocols of players that they have so maybe that’s to my benefit.”

I was a little surprised that only two reporters were on hand Monday to chat with Gomez. It certainly was a lot different than the environment Gomez had just left:

“People down there wherever I go they know who I am. It’s very scary going somewhere and having flashes and pictures taken, people coming up to you. They know everything about you and you’re a public figure. I’ve never been a public figure before. At first I thought it would be cool, but it’s pretty scary, to be honest. Let’s be honest, it’s a beautiful country, but there’s still a lot of dangers.

“It’s a crazy feeling (being a celebrity), but there’s almost a sense of responsibility that comes with it, so I’ve definitely been learning to deal with that.”

Gomez said he and former Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz of Guatemala, who can speak fluent English these days, were known in the Puebla locker room as “The Americans (!) and often spoke English with one another just to get under the skin of their teammates.

The other reporter, a recent college graduate named Adam Serrano who is now the Southern California correspondent for the blog Soccer By Ives, had a different take on the 20-minute interview we conducted with a gracious Herc.

Here’s the story Adam filed (In the accompanying picture to the blog post that’s me on the left and Adam to the right, in case you’re wondering).

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • http://www.ericpz.com PZ

    I love Herc and he’s worked hard for everything he’s received. I hope Bradley can find a spot for both him and Edson. However, I’m not sure about him wearing goat colors.

  • http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/blog.php?u=146273 Mike

    I knew that was you and Adam!

    Though I was wondering, if you two were covering the interview, who took the picture?

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/soccer Nick Green

    The Chivas USA media relations rep.

  • Torrance Mom

    Good Luck Herc! Hope Bradley gives you a shot…you deserve it. Its time for some ‘new’ blood on team USA. I would much rather scream for “herculez, herculez” than watch Dempsey, Beasley, and Ching lumber around the field at the WC. They are just not as dynamic as a few years ago. Herc plays with more heart and soul.

  • Studs Up

    I agree with Torrance Mom 100% about Herc and 66.6% about the other players mentioned (DeBeaser doesn’t lumber).

  • https://www.carngo.com/car-rental/usa-miami Miami Carngo

    I like it. GO USA!

    • markgann

      miamicarngo (:

  • https://www.carngo.com/car-rental/usa-new-york-city-under-25 Wayrma New York

    He currently works as a commentator in both English and Spanish for ESPN