By Jayden Presley
Heather Gomez began playing soccer at the age of three, and she said it continues to be one of the best things to ever happen in her life.
She is proud to have grown up in South El Monte, California in a low-income part of the city and always had her family to surround her.
“I take a lot of pride where I come from, because I appreciate all of the support from everyone,” said Gomez. “I love representing my name and get to share whatever success to my hometown.”
No other sport captured her heart quite like soccer, so she began playing club soccer at the age of seven. She traveled to many states to play among the best teams, and also took the opportunity to play in Spain. She said it was “one of the coolest experiences.”
“Throughout my years of playing, I knew college soccer was something I really wanted to pursue,” said Gomez. “I was blessed enough to get the opportunity to represent the UM Women’s Soccer Team. In this journey, I have a big support system that shows me nothing but love, and I owe a lot of my success to them. So, to my family and friends, this one is for you. Thank you.”
Jake Wyman, head coach for the UM Women’s Soccer team, said Gomez’s qualities of being a great person and teammate fit well with the program.
“I think her character qualities inspire teammates and promote team chemistry as well as motivate teammates to play well,” said Wyman. “Heather stood out as a great goal scorer and play maker with many qualities that we felt would transfer successfully to the college game.”
Soccer helped make Gomez a stronger person. She said the game teaches her to never give in when things are difficult, but to keep pushing forward until the end.
“I was always taught to stay a humble person in every way possible no matter the situation,” said Gomez.
A freshman biology major, Gomez chose Montevallo because it best fit her soccer career and education. She hopes to work at a children’s hospital as a pediatrician or pursue her soccer career to play professionally in the Mexican leagues.
“During the time I have been here, I have only been growing into a better person on and off the field,” said Gomez. “Being a student athlete is definitely a challenge, but over the course of this semester, I’ve adapted to learning different ways in balancing my roles on the field and in the classroom.”
Her older teammates on the UM Women’s Soccer team taught her ways to stay on track with assignments, practice and game schedules.
Wyman says Gomez is just beginning to scratch the surface of her potential as a player and teammate.
“Our expectation is that Heather grows in all phases of her game: with the ball, without the ball, in transition, dead ball situations, athletic ability, strength and power,” said Wyman.
Soccer is special to Gomez, and she experienced exciting moments during her time as a college player.
“Scoring my first career goal was a really special moment for me,” Gomez said. “It’s an exciting experience, because everyone around me was just as excited as I was. Aside from that, I love being on the road with my team. It has created a better bond among us as we experience new places together.”
The Gulf South Conference named Gomez Freshman of the Week on Sept. 14.
“Last thing I’d like to say is,” said Wyman, “if you’re a Falcon Footy fan, watch Heather Gomez. She has the potential to be an all-time great here at Montevallo.”
Jayden Presley is the sports editor for The Alabamian. She is a sophomore mass communication major, concentrating in multimedia journalism, and also minors in creative writing. She enjoys writing in her spare time, drawing and playing video games.