Christian Gonzalez kicks the ball during a game against visiting Columbia Basin at College Creek Field on Aug. 28. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Lal/HSU Athletics)
Christian Gonzalez kicks the ball during a game against visiting Columbia Basin at College Creek Field on Aug. 28. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Lal/HSU Athletics)

Lumberjack soccer star shines in early season tests

Christian Gonzalez headlines a stout Humboldt State defense that has yet to concede a goal

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“There’s not a prize until the end”

Christian Gonzalez center back in his second year on the Humboldt State men’s soccer team, is settling in.

A junior born and raised in Bakersfield, California, Gonzalez has loved the game since he was just five years old. He has four years of college soccer experience under his belt, evident in his playing this season.

“The further you get into soccer, you’re just grateful that you get into it with a group of guys that are just as determined to keep pushing as you are,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez enjoys the grind of soccer and talked a lot about how it keeps him engaged after the HSU versus Simpson game on Friday.

“There’s not a prize until the end. You’re just grinding games, running several miles each game,” Gonzalez said. “That’s something that’s great to appreciate towards the end of the season. Early in the season, we know we’re 5-0, but that’s not what we’re seeing right now. We’re taking it one game at a time.”

Gonzalez said his winning mindset has come from training constantly for years. He learned to practice the way he would play in a real soccer game by having the determination to win all the competitions, not just limited to games, but small sided challenges in practice as well.

“Even something as simple as a passing drill,” Gonzalez said.

On the field, Gonzalez plays with his head. He maintains confidence that he can win a ball in the air, offensively or defensively.

Gonzalez also mentioned that he has been heavily influenced by Italian defenders and the way they play.

“Defending has been my passion ever since I was little and if I had to pick out several influences it’d just be the classic Italian defender,” Gonzalez said. “If you can score a goal, that’s great, but first thing is defending.”

This mindset explains how the men’s soccer team defense has been so successful this season. They back up their offense and make things easier for them. They simply allow fewer goals.

The team has had a very successful season so far, undefeated with a 5-0 record currently. They managed to sneak away with a 1-0 win against Simpson Friday where a goal from Marco Silveira late in the game snatched the victory for the Lumberjacks.

The previous weekend, the Jacks won two away games against different non-conference opponents in Hayward, California by scores of 4-0 and 3-0. The team’s next game is at College Creek Field this coming Saturday, September 25th. They will face their first conference opponent, Chico State, in a rivalry game.

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